SHOPPERS have experienced new-look town centres throughout the district this week as more shops reopened on Monday as part of the Government’s easing of lockdown measures.

Northumberland County Council has placed signs throughout the county's town centres, including Hexham, Haltwhistle, Ponteland and Prudhoe, instructing pedestrians to observe two-metre social-distancing guidelines.

County councillor Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South, which includes the Front Street area, said: “I have been speaking with many residents who have all said they are pleased with the sensible and straight forward measures being put in place.”

On Fore Street, in Hexham, Waterstones book store is one of many businesses to have placed stickers on the floor outside its shop to ensure customers observe social-distancing while queuing.

Haltwhistle’s I-Save store, on Westgate, is permitting a maximum of three customers at any given time after reopening on Monday.

The store has implemented a strict one-way system with social-distancing stickers and tape in place.

Shop staff have also provided hand sanitiser upon entering and exiting the store.

Coun. Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for local services, thanked shoppers for embracing new measures. “Our overriding aim within town centres in the county is to ensure the safety of our residents, while also supporting businesses as they begin to reopen,” he said.

“Council staff have been on hand as ‘community ambassadors’ to provide friendly support and guidance to shoppers and traders where it is needed during the first days of these new arrangements.”

Further measures being enforced by the council include introducing one way systems in some towns and removing unnecessary advertising boards and furniture. The county council has vowed to implement similar restrictions in smaller villages, such as Corbridge, Bellingham, Haydon Bridge and Allendale, within the coming weeks.

Coun. Sanderson added: “We have already identified a range of further measures that could be brought into effect to create more pedestrian space, as towns become busier.

“We’re working very closely with local councillors, parish and town councils and local chambers of trade to take forward the next phase.”