Checklist for recovery stages

To help plan for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Streets Task Force is using a 4-stage framework. The Task Force has released a check-list for place managers of 10 considerations for the pre-recovery/recovery stages identified in that framework.


This article has been created by independent experts on behalf of the High Streets Task Force. It is not intended as Government guidance and we have not sought approval for it to be so.



Social distancing and increased hygiene are two important factors that need to be considered by those managing outdoor space, such as neighbourhood, town and city centres. Footfall figures released by Springboard already show an increase in footfall as people anticipate that some lockdown measures may be eased.

It is important for place leaders to get plans in place as there is no doubt managing ‘the new normal’ will be challenging. Nevertheless, it is important that place leaders and managers do all they can to reassure their businesses and communities – and ensure there is a safe and gradual return to our high streets.

To help plan for recovery, the High Streets Task Force is using a 4-stage framework. We have released a check-list of 10 considerations for the pre-recovery/recovery stages. Place leaders and managers are urged to consider the following:


  1. Common plan for public space

    Bring together all of those responsible for the management of publicly accessible space to work on a common plan for managing social distancing and movement through the area following government guidance. This will include the local authority, shopping centre management, commercial area management, park management, and public transport operators. This will be vital for the safety of those using the town and avoid conflicting advice.


  1. Enhanced cleaning and sanitising

    Plan for enhanced cleaning and sanitising to ensure the risks of the virus spreading are reduced. This may include the provision of hand sanitiser stations, accessible for all.


  1. (Consistent) Signage

    As is already required for supermarkets, it is likely that government guidance on public areas will require signage to remind people with symptoms not to enter areas, to maintain social distancing, to offer opportunities for hand washing or sanitising. Consistency of messaging on this will be important.


  1. Identify hotspots

    Audit the centre to identify activity ‘hotspots’ – these may have changed since lockdown. Look at the popular routes people take through the town and identify potential problem areas. Many towns will need to introduce restrictions in movement through their centres to maintain social distancing, or have to close roads to traffic to widen pavements, or introduce one way walking routes as in supermarkets. These restrictions will have to be introduced quickly so check whether they are covered by the General Permitted Development Orders or require approval before installation


  1. Inclusive social distancing

    In designing new walking routes and managing social distancing pay attention to the challenges this may present for people with disabilities.


  1. Walking and cycling

    Plan for more people to access your town by walking and cycling.


  1. Access and egress

    Access and egress from a town/city centre and to parts of it will be a critical challenge for social distancing. Make sure you consider all arrival points, how will you make people safe in waiting for or using public transport? Are there narrow walkways from car parks? What action might you have to take to close certain routes to maintain safety or at peak capacity? Do bus stops need to move to locations where queues can be better accommodated?


  1. Communicate with businesses

    Communicate with all town/city centre businesses. The re-opening of many businesses is likely to be delayed by government. Place leaders should work to keep in touch with these businesses to understand their plans and challenges.


  1. Stewarding

    To ensure public places are safe to visit may require a greater physical presence on the streets for cleaning and stewarding. Coordinate between existing management organisations to identify how this best can be done.


  1. Markets

    Well-planned markets support footfall in towns and should be considered anchors. The market location and operating hours may also be revised where new footfall patterns have developed during crisis stage. Markets will also need to conform with social distancing, and there is more advice available on this from NABMA.