With relaxation of social distancing regulations throughout the UK over the coming months comes the need to ensure the safety of the public and employees in public and commercial areas.
So, how can town centres, businesses and the retail sector provide social distancing solutions to make them Covid safer once lockdown restrictions come to an end?
That’s the question posed by Studmarc, specialist suppliers of architectural and tactile studs used in environments ranging from high streets to car parks, shopping centres to showrooms.
It has set out how street furniture and products such as tactile and architectural studs can become part of the long-term solution.
Social demarcation will continue after restrictions are eased or lifted
“Not a day goes by without us being reminded about the importance of social distancing,” said Robert Hawgood, Managing Director of Studmarc and its sister company, Landmark Street Furniture.
“Whether we’re on an essential shop, a daily exercise, or at work, signage and barriers are either informing or guiding us on maintaining social distancing. It’s apparent that, even once the mass vaccination programme is completed, we are going to have to abide by some form of distancing for some time yet.”
Recent reports, such as KPMGs The Future of Towns and Cities Post Covid-19, have highlighted the need for town centres to adapt in order to survive. And this will require physical and architectural changes to the built environment.
High streets are having to adapt
“High streets will need to be reimagined as cultural and recreational hubs that will act as magnets for businesses and jobs…” states the report.
So, how can town centres, retailers, and offices initiate long-term measures to ensure their employees, visitors and customers are safe?
Architects, property management companies and property developers are all adopting social distancing into existing or new built environments.
Retrofitting into existing built environments
Architectural and tactile studs can be used in new developments as well as easily retrofitted into existing built environments.
“Businesses are already taking long-term or permanent measures to ensure social distancing. Spacing out working areas in offices or designating one-way systems for walking around shops and showrooms are just a few,” said Mr Hawgood.
“In each case they are having to undertake demarcation to ensure people abide by the measures. One of the most cost-effective solutions is through architectural and tactile studs. They are simple and affordable solutions for all situations.”
Studs can be split into several types, depending on the environment and solution required.
Physical and visual safety
“There are various ways of using studs. For example, a pathway can be formed out of studs that also act as a surface, or grip to walk on. It’s a visual and physical way of guiding someone,” said Mr Hawgood.
Demarcation and tactile studs can be used to mark out boundaries, cycle paths, pedestrian pathways and specific areas such as outdoor eating spaces as well as for social distancing. They come in a variety of styles, such as cross-hatched, numbered, flush fitting, raised and anti-slip.
Studmarc works closely with its sister company, Landmark Street Furniture, to provide solutions in the built environment for architects, property developers and construction companies.