Free parking at Mansfield District Council's car parks will continue until September 2020 to encourage people to shop locally as the town emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.
All the council's surface car parks will be free to use throughout the summer. There is no need to buy a pay and display ticket - shoppers can just turn up and park.
The Cabinet has agreed to a proposal to introduce temporary reduced parking fees between September and the New Year. A formal decision on the proposal will be taken in July 2020.
The Walkden Street car park will remain closed for the next few weeks to allow for work to replace the concrete panels to be carried out.
The Four Season's shopping centre car park remains closed for now but the council is plans to reopen this facility once social distancing measures are in place - hopefully by the end of June. It will also be free to use when it reopens.
It is proposed that from 1 September 2020, parking fees will return but they will be half price until 31 December 2020. After that, they will return to pre-lockdown fees with 30 minutes free and three hours for the price of two deals in place.
Cllr Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, said: "Although the council's car parks are an important source of income to help pay for council services, we feel that it is better to continue with free parking for a few more months.
"It means people do not have to touch tickets machines and this helps to prevent the spread of the virus. We hope it will also encourage people back into the town centre to support our local shops and businesses.
"The council has put in place comprehensive measures to make shopping in Mansfield as safe as it can be and we hope these will promote confidence among local people to return to a 'new normal'. It is vital that we support our local economy if we want to safeguard jobs and livelihoods.
"Providing free and then reduced fee parking until after Christmas would also help some families who might not be in the best place financially due to the lockdown."
As well as free parking, the town centre also has in place hand sanitiser stations, one-way systems for pedestrians and safety limits on the number of people allowed to enter shops and length of queues, to enable effective social distancing.
Visitors are asked to follow simple guidelines to keep themselves and others safe:
- Keep your distance from other shoppers
- Don’t come shopping if you have symptoms of Covid-19
- Wash your hands regularly; there are sanitising stations around the town centre
- Follow directional signage in stores and around the town centre
- Wear face coverings in line with government guidance – and dispose of them safely
- Be respectful to shop and council workers
- Queue in allocated areas and leave a queue if asked to.