Town centre numbers continue fall in response to ‘stay at home’ advice
PUBLISHED: 11:41 10 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:41 10 April 2020
Footfall in Ipswich town centre continues to decline as more people heed government advice on staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ipswich Borough Council revealed that fewer than 3,700 people were recorded by sensors on Tuesday, April 7, compared to 14,000 on March 10 and 18,000 on the busiest Tuesday in December.
Comparative figures for Saturdays showed fewer than 3,000 visitors were recorded on April 4, compared to 18,900 on March 7.
Crown Street car park has been closed until further notice due to lack of use and cost of keeping it open. Nearby William Street car park has spare space for those still needing to use Crown Street.
The use of council car parks has fallen 94% compared to the same time last year, while free-to-use parking for those in the NHS and social care sector is being used by an average of 11 cars per day.
The borough said it was keeping parks and open spaces safe and available to be used for one daily form of exercise, but asked users to follow government guidance to stay two metres apart, keep to designated cycling routes, keep dogs under control and wash hands upon returning home.
The public are to avoid using spaces for sunbathing, sitting for extended periods, having a picnic, fishing or meeting people from outside their own households.
Council buildings, including the Regent Theatre, Town Hall and Corn Exchange, Shop Mobility, swimming pools and sports centres, Tourist Information Centre, kiosks and visitor centres in Christchurch and Holywells parks, and the museum, art gallery and Christchurch Mansion remain closed.
As of Wednesday, 893 businesses had received a total of £10.5million from a £26.5m pot of funding awarded to the borough from the Government to make grant payments.
The council’s statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation to the homeless has been extended to rough sleepers and those with nowhere to safely self-isolate, but with current accommodation at capacity, 25 hotel rooms were block-booked on April 2, with an option to extend. By Wednesday, the hotel was already accommodating 21 single people.
Council chief executive, Russell Williams said the local authority would continue to deliver key services over the weekend and beyond, against a “challenging new landscape”.
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