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Social Distancing & Street Furniture

Posted on 3rd August 2020

Social Distancing & Street Furniture

Everyone is trying to keep their distance, whether that's queuing to get into the local supermarket, avoiding public transport, or crossing the road during our daily exercise to avoid others on narrow paths. We know that keeping two metres apart is the safest option. It reduces the chances of spreading the virus and helps in the fight to eliminate it. 

Since lockdown, our free time activities have stopped, no more gym sessions, no more late nights at the pub, no more luxury meals out. We’ve also had to change our working lives, skeleton crews during shifts, office workers sat at kitchen tables, others on the government's job retention scheme, not to mention the exceptional & heroic key workers still out there every day for the general public. 

Things are beginning to brighten though. Schools are set to reopen properly in September, pubs and restaurants are welcoming customers back, cinemas are getting creative with distancing measures. And everywhere you go now has a hand sanitising dispenser on entry, signage telling you where to stand and what to do, protective screens between you and staff members, and the humble face mask. 

To help business & schools get back on their feet we’ve created a list of appropriate street furniture products that aid in social distancing. 

Seating & Planter Combos 

Outdoor public seating has been avoided by many of us during lockdown. We’ve been keen to walk past quickly and avert our eyes. They’ve been a forbidden luxury, for fear of someone walking past or sitting too near to us. They no longer represent a peaceful break but an abandoned relic from before lockdown. 

Most benches are smaller than two meters in length, but that doesn't have to be the case; seating and bench designs can be custom made to suit the location. Material, size, and quantity are all variables depending on the project. 

Seating broken up by planters can provide spaced out, socially distanced seating. Large border style seating can provide multiple options for people. Raised flower beds with concrete edging, or a bordered lawn can be a place to relax. There are many options available for public spaces. 

With people now being allowed to meet up with others from a second household to form a bubble, outdoor spaces are once again being reclaimed. Making these spaces accessible to everyone is key to making sure the lockdown eases can be enjoyed by us all. 

Outdoor Classrooms

Outdoor Classrooms have been around for a while. (There’s even a day dedicated to it). Even though the awareness day is about getting kids learning while outdoors, an outdoor classroom can provide much needed space for small primary schools. 

Our outdoor classrooms are large canopies that are fitted to the building. They can be made with shutters to create a secure lockable room at the end of the day. They create more teaching space for  schools, which means schools can accommodate more children and keep them socially distanced. Outdoor classrooms can also be opened up during warmer days to allow fresh air while teaching. 

Cycle Stands / Shelters 

The UK Government has proposed a new scheme to get more people cycling. Businesses can now encourage staff and customers to travel by bike rather than taking public transport, or risk touching a parking machine in a car park. 

Cycling is known to provide health benefits with it being a low impact form of exercise. It’s also a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. It can be a lifeline for people who need a break from being stuck indoors all day. It’s also a cheap way of getting around our towns and cities for shopping and errands. 

By providing cycle parking for your employees, customers, students, or the general public, you are helping to reduce contact and the spread of the virus. Individuals can also buy cycle racks to keep the family bikes safe and secure at home. 

Canopies and Walkways 

Queuing up outside shops is great when the weather is nice but when there's a grey cloud it's down to an individual to use an umbrella or to a business to provide adequate shelter. Canopies can fit over entrances and walkways can wrap around buildings. 

Steel structures can be designed to fit perfectly with the building, even if the surrounding area is uneven or there is restricted access. They provide all year round protection to visitors and regulars. 

Picnic Tables 

Outdoor spaces were a no go at the start of lock down and then it became possible to meet with another household in a park or open space to form a ‘bubble’. Now we can meet up with more friends and family, preferably in an outdoor space. These spaces, usually public parks, vary in amenities. Picnic tables and benches are usually sparse and when the sun is outfits rare to find one unattended. 

Ideally parks need a large picnic area with plenty of seating options. There are table designs that accommodate children, pregnant women, wheelchair users and pushchairs, as well as larger groups of people. If there are more picnic tables in an area then people can spread out. More tables also means local business can welcome more people back which will help the UK economy. 

Playground Markings 

Makeshift line markings were applied to the ground outside of businesses and schools as a way to provide clearly marked two meter distances between queuing customers and school children. With restrictions being eased the necessity for distancing has reduced however schools still need to consider what the children can safely play with while on the playground. 

Playground markings have always been a popular choice for schools to provide a variety of activities, games and sports pitches. Now they are great for letting children continue to have fun and play games on the playground without having to touch anything. 

The Bailey Street Furniture Group is a privately owned collection of individual companies serving the construction sector, providing a wide range of street furniture, playground elements and associated services to the public realm, commercial and educational schemes throughout the UK. For more information on the Bailey Street Furniture Group please contact their team on 01625 322888 or email enquiries@bsfg.co.uk