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Staff voice concerns over queues at Hungerford Boots

Social distancing measures could put vulnerable people at risk

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

Staff voice concerns over queues at Hungerford Boots

STAFF at a Hungerford chemist shop are concerned over safety for themselves and their customers when non-essential stores are given the go-ahead to reopen on June 15.

Workers from the Boots pharmacy in the High Street spoke of their fears at an online meeting of Hungerford Town Council’s highways and transport committee on Tuesday, May 26.

One of them, store manager Tia Ferguson, said: “We’re limiting customers in the shop for social distancing.

“Our concern is that, when we open up [the High Street] we’ll have nowhere for people to queue.

“It would block a number of shops.

“We’re not confident we can manage this when the High Street opens up.”

Councillor Sally Hawkins suggested: “Doesn’t this need a strategy – and shouldn’t the chamber of commerce be involved?

“Boots aren’t the only business with a queuing problem.”

A Boots area manager, who was introduced simply as Claire, said: “Our patients are at times vulnerable and elderly and we don’t want to put them at risk.

“We’ve got a post office and a gift shop next door.

“I don’t want their customers having to cross the road or our patients.”

Councillor John Downe acknowledged: “The problem of managing queues in the High Street is going to be tricky.

“There’s a more serious distancing safety issue at Bridge Street where the pavement is narrow and there’s a busy road.

“There are some quite intractable problems.”

District councillor James Cole (Con, Hungerford and Kintbury) said: “If you’ve only got one metre of pavement, you can’t magic two or three more into existence.

“There are limits to what you can do.”

Deputy mayor Keith Knight suggested doing an audit to canvass the opinion of shopkeepers, including those who own antique stores, which will be reopening.

Committee chairman Rob Chicken concurred with his colleagues and it was agreed to establish a working party to investigate the options and report back to the town council.

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