Going in the right direction: action plan for safe reopening of shops

The shops in Ghent reopened on Monday, 11 May. To guarantee that this took place in a safe way, the city council drew up an action plan.

The shops in Ghent reopened on Monday, 11 May. To guarantee that this took place in a safe way, the city council drew up an action plan in collaboration with the police and external partners. One of the main principles is keeping to your right in the shopping streets. In addition, shop assistants are ready to assist you and washbasins are provided as well.

Separate pedestrian flows

All shopping streets in the historic centre have a two-way pedestrian flow. The principle is that people keep to their right. Visitors are clearly informed. In Veldstraat and Langemunt, this is done by means of banners mounted on metal structures, supplemented with LED displays. There are information panels at all entrances to the shopping axes and spray-painted tags indicate the walking direction.

One-way traffic has been introduced in narrow shopping streets where two-way traffic is not safe enough.

People are addressed with the slogan ‘Shop with your heart, but use your common sense.’ The message remains that you should respect social distancing and avoid heading into the city all at the same time, thus keeping it safe for shopkeepers and for shoppers.

Waiting spots and other minor interventions

Important shopping streets such as Veldstraat, Langemunt and the axis Koestraat-Kalandeberg-Mageleinstraat are provided with 'waiting spots' on the pavement in case of queues. In the sidestreets and other streets in the centre, they have been marked with chalk tags. The shape and message of these markings playfully refer to the cuberdons, a typical Ghent sweet!

For the places where the city has not provided any waiting spots or tags, shopkeepers can apply the tags themselves using a template that can be downloaded from stad.gent/coronavrijwinkelen.

In addition, minor interventions have been made to provide the necessary space to comply with social distancing. If necessary, and after advice from the police, parking spaces can also be temporarily removed. The situation is being evaluated continuously.

Shopping street assistants and washbasins

The City of Ghent has also provided 'warm-hearted shopping street assistants'. They assist visitors who have questions, keep an eye on things and mediate in the event of any problems. In total, there are about 30 people who can be deployed flexibly. There are washbasins on the central squares (Korenmarkt, Kalandeberg and Grootkanonplein) so that shoppers can wash their hands at any time.

The police monitor the pedestrian flows and will safely divert the flow of people if necessary. The warm-hearted shopping street assistants are continuously in contact with the patrols so that the police can intervene immediately.

Come by bike

The City of Ghent encourages people to come to the shopping area on foot or by bike as much as possible. All bicycle axes remain unaffected. Bicycle parking places have not been removed in the shopping core area. Additional bicycle parking places will be created where necessary.

All measures are evaluated on a daily basis. Shopkeepers can call Gentinfo on 09 210 10 10 for first-line support with signage, queues and so on. For general questions, they can contact ‘Ondersteuningspunt Ondernemers Gent’ (Ghent Support Centre for Entrepreneurs) by calling 09 210 10 60 or go to the info page on the website Puur Gent. Ghent residents can always reach out to Gentinfo with their questions.