Glasgow’s main walkways and high streets could be redesigned post Covid-19 to encourage physical distancing throughout the city.
The City Centre taskforce, which was launched in November last year to tackle the effects of the coronavirus crisis, is also looking to widen footpaths and pavements so people feel safe. They are also planning a deep clean of the city.
Glasgow is one of the worst affected areas in Scotland with businesses having to adapt constantly to the rules and regulations. An update was brought before the licensing forum this week.
Denise Hamilton, of neighbourhoods and sustainability, said: “We are in the middle of a pandemic and the city centre of Glasgow will be affected more than most areas.
“We felt that as we started to see restrictions easing last year that there were still a number of challenges for the sector and businesses operating in the city centre to recover from the pandemic.
“In November we were asked to establish a taskforce. Many of us will know that even if your business was permitted to open during the summer, we didn’t have the footfall in the city centre which meant businesses didn’t reopen even though they could.”
The taskforce aims to provide city leadership and support to other businesses throughout the pandemic.
It is developing an action plan and a “lessons learned” assessment to future-proof Glasgow against further pandemic lockdowns and other restrictions which negatively impact the city’s economy and the lives of its citizens.
Ms Hamilton continued: “We have a challenge to get people back in the city centre and feeling safe again.
“That will be a key part of our recovery. There is no doubt that Covid has had a change on or made changes to the way people feel and interact with the city centre. It is our job to look at that.
“We started the group in November, and we are already frustrated. It has been difficult to implement the ideas we had.
“We have managed to take the red and white barriers away from the city centre, so it doesn’t look like a race track and we are now trying to procure various different measures to widen footpaths and create permanent solutions that will encourage social distancing.
“How do we plan ahead? How do we plan for Christmas? We are pushing the Scottish Government to listen.
“The aim is to create a two-way conversation between the businesses sector and the city council and to address some of the walls that have been built up over the years. We are keen to keep the conversation going.”
Donald MacLeod, owner of the Garage and Cathouse clubs, added: “There seems to be a lack of understanding and creation of a roadmap to recovery.
“It is up to this group to keep pushing and asking these questions. We’ve got Cop26 at the end of the year. Are we just going to open up the week before?
“I hope not – we need to find out.”
Story by local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter