Wales

Coronavirus: Traders in New Quay call Ceredigion's safe zones 'a step too far'

Traders gathering in New Quay
Image caption Traders in New Quay say there are other alternatives to closing the roads

Traders have slammed emergency road closures as "a step too far" in keeping streets safe after lockdown.

Ceredigion Council is creating pedestrian safe zones in four town centres from Monday - the same day that lockdown restrictions will be relaxed across Wales.

Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and New Quay will be the first town centres to see the zones implemented.

But business owners in New Quay say it will ruin their plans to reopen.

Postmaster John Barrett said traders were angry and felt there were better solutions.

"This has been completely sprung on us at a time when we're all getting ready to get back to business," he said.

"We've spent months struggling in a very, very difficult time. Now we've got this opportunity to recover a little bit.

"That will not be possible with the road closed, so what measures are there in place to allow people to carry on that normal business? We don't know."

Image copyright Geograph/John Lucas
Image caption The roads will close for limited periods to allow social distancing, said Ceredigion Council.

Ceredigion has been praised for its response to the virus and had the lowest death rate from the virus of anywhere in England and Wales, apart from the Isles of Scilly.

"We're not against measures, but this is an ill thought-out plan," Mr Barrett said.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, cabinet member for highways at Ceredigion Council, said the road closures would be for limited periods during the day, from "mid-morning to 18:00 BST approximately" to ensure there is "sufficient room for social distancing".

"We are making it easier - the road is narrow there are very few pavements," he said.

"Bearing in mind we are expecting an influx we will try to police it and to close the roads in the day. It's not to close the businesses - it's to ensure they can operate safely," he added.

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