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Flower power! Markings urge shoppers to social distance

Floral messaging: Social distancing floor markings on the Parade, Leamington Spa PICTURE: SWNS

CREATIVE street markings have been unveiled on some of the UK’s busiest town centres in a bid to remind people to follow social distancing guidelines.

Photographs taken in Birmingham and Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, show how Brits will have to get used to a new normal once lockdown finally ends.

In Birmingham, the local Business Improvement District (BID) has come up with a unique way to guide the public with the country’s first two-way pedestrian lanes.

The supermarket-style markings have been laid along a 100-metre stretch of the city’s usually bustling Broad Street.

They are designed to help keep people two metres apart to avoid the spread of coronavirus once city centre businesses fully reopen.

Keep apart: Markings on a usually busy Birmingham street remind shoppers to social distance

Mike Olley, general manager of Birmingham’s Westside BID, said: ‘These pavement markings have been designed specifically to help people easily follow social distancing guidelines.

‘Our understanding is that we are among the first areas of a UK city centre to pilot this sort of initiative.

‘We hope that the pilot will be seen as a successful way to help businesses in our area to prepare to reopen, keeping staff and visitors safe when Birmingham’s “golden mile” starts to re-open.

‘If this pilot is deemed successful, we will work with the city council to hopefully install similar pavement markings and signage across the entire Westside BID area.’

The markings, which read ‘Please Maintain Social Distancing: 2m Apart’ are made from self-adhesive vinyl that is shrink-wrapped with heat to the pavement.

Stay in line: Pedestrian lanes are to be introduced in Britain’s busiest town centres

In Leamington Spa, colourful flower markers have been chosen to brighten up the town centre and have been placed at two-metre intervals.

BID Leamington said the creative floor graphics are also a first of their kind and are located at key junctions along the town’s main shopping parade.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: ‘We wanted pavement graphics that would be less authoritative and more welcoming, and came up with the idea of colourful flowers as we felt it reflected our town and would be enjoyed and embraced more.

‘As we plan for the gradual opening up of the town centre, it is important to us that our community knows we are thinking about ongoing safety.

‘Fostering trust and loyalty is more important than ever as more people start to return, and we see creative signage as part of that.

‘We installed a first bunch as a trial to gauge feedback and the response was incredibly positive.

‘Where possible, we will be using them throughout the town centre and are working in partnership with businesses and other stakeholders to help manage other public space challenges, such as queueing.

Stay safe: The creative markings have attracted interest from local schools

‘I think there was tangible relief that the interventions being installed to protect them were also attractive, colourful and lifted the spirits.

‘Parents have told us that it is also easier to get their children to stand by them, as they are fun and interesting.

‘We have also been contacted by schools, who have also identified the value of using them to reduce stress and anxiety for returning students, which is relevant to us all.’