MORE than 170 “Queue here” markers have been stuck to the ground in Bournemouth town centre as businesses plan for the next relaxation of the lockdown.

Bournemouth Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) has been putting the stickers outside businesses which have asked for them as a way to help manage lines.

Paul Kinvig, the BID’s chief operating officer, said: “They’ve gone outside national retailers, independent retailers, they’ve gone outside coffee shops, restaurants and banks throughout the town.

“We worked in conjunction with BCP Council and the levy-paying businesses haven’t had to pay anything for them.

“The plan is to help growth but leave enough space that the public are able to walk through. It’s to help the retailers and other businesses marshal and organise their queues to tie in with that.”

He said there were still some of the stickers available and that any busines which pays a levy to the Town Centre BID can request them.

Non-essential shops have been allowed to open since June 15. Other businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and cinemas will be allowed to open when the lockdown is relaxed further on Saturday, July 4.

While thousands have flocked to Bournemouth beaches in recent days, the impact on town centre retailers has been mixed.

Mr Kinvig said: “I talk to retailers and the kind of patterns of retailing that were here prior to lockdown don’t seem to be there.

“We had reports of businesses seeing figures almost approaching Christmas kid of levels. But it’s also true, as you would imagine, that encouraging people to come into the town centre safe and responsibly is still a major challenge for everybody involved.”

He added: “The ingenuity that businesses have shown in the past 12 weeks – and those that have remained open or worked in different ways to access different markets -- has been amazing.”

He said it was too early to say how many of the town’s pubs, cafes and restaurants would be open from July 4.

“I think there will be quite a number that will open but the big question for those is how do they make it work with much restricted capacity?” he added.