Oxfordshire gears up for next phase of lockdown easing on 15 June

Residents are being advised to expect some changes on the road networks and in town centres as the county council seeks to make sure Oxfordshire remains safe but welcoming when the next major stage of lockdown easing begins on 15 June.

From Monday, non-essential shops will be able to open for the first time since late March, with retailers required to adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. To support the reopening of town centres, the county council is working with district and town councils on a series of temporary and permanent changes designed to ensure the county remains a great place to live, work, socialise, visit and shop.

Some narrow streets in town centres will operate a one-way system for pedestrians including Hythe Bridge Street in Oxford and social distancing measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of shoppers and visitors, with signs and posters offering guidance about respecting the 2-metre social distancing rule. The changes will be most evident in high-pedestrian traffic areas such as at Frideswide Square and the city centre streets in Oxford. Contractors are also likely to be working in places at times so please be mindful of their important work.

The county council is currently investing the first part of £597,000 of a £2.9m government active travel grant in a range of measures to improve cycling infrastructure, footpaths and parts of the road network to help make journeys much easier by bike and on foot. This includes fitting new bike racks across the county’s market towns and in Oxford.

Residents are being asked to consider their journeys carefully and prepare their route ahead of time. Where possible people are encouraged to visit busy areas at off-peak times and to cycle and walk where they can, particularly as buses and trains will be restricted in the number of passengers they can carry.

Please be mindful that car parks will reintroduce charges on 15th June. This means charges will resume at Oxford’s Seacourt, Thornhill, Redbridge and Oxford Parkway Park and Ride car parks. Exemptions for NHS staff and care workers still apply.

From 15th June, the entitlement to free travel for concessionary bus pass holders will return to its pre-crisis time of 9am to midnight Monday to Friday and anytime Saturday and Sunday.

Cllr Liam Walker, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways Delivery & Operations, said

“Oxfordshire County Council and partner councils have put a lot of effort into prioritising measures to protect the public. We are doing all we can to enable residents and visitors to access towns by active transport and keep a safe distance from others.

“We’d like to ask residents to help make this next phase of easing the lockdown a success by keeping a two-metre distance from others and consider visiting towns at off peak times where possible. The further easing of lockdown in July depends on our cooperation, so let’s make this phase a safe success.”