NEW safety measures will be installed in Halstead town centre when lockdown restrictions are lifted again next week.

Non-essential retailers have been given the all clear to reopen from Monday having been forced to close in March to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Plans are in place to install new signage along Halstead High Street to remind shoppers about social distancing and floor markings are also being considered.

Retailers will be encouraging customers to make contactless payments where possible, and there will also be a greater push on hand washing.

Businesses on High Street are said to be working with each other to ensure they and customers comply with the rules.

Halstead Town Council's clerk Sarah Greatorex said: "We have been pleased to observe that local residents have been extremely careful at all times to maintain the correct social distancing during lockdown, and are finding practical solutions to queueing now that more shops are open.

"Fortunately the wide high street in Halstead in the main allows for sensible queueing, and local businesses are already consulting each other to accommodate queues."

To help businesses reopen, Braintree Council says it has prepared support packs which outline what retailers need to do to ensure they meet safety regulations.

The pack includes posters which can be displayed in shop windows to remind customers of the rules.

Braintree Council says it will work with businesses to monitor the reopening of shops and see if any other safety measures are needed.

Economic boss Tom Cunningham said: "Town centres have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and we’re pleased we’re now able to take the first steps towards supporting the recovery of our economy. While we welcome this, our priority must be the safety of people visiting and working in our town centres.

"It’s important we get the balance right. We all need to take responsibility to follow social distancing guidelines and respect the measures local businesses are putting in place to protect the safety of their staff and shoppers.

"We are committed to supporting local retailers and market traders to return to the high street, but it’s still so important that if you do visit, please shop safely and responsibly."