More cycle lanes will be created and pavements will be widened to allow people to exercise in Shropshire’s towns while observing social distancing guidelines.
Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council, said the council was exploring ways to encourage safe active travel for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
It follows the announcement from Boris Johnson that people may now leave their homes to exercise more regularly, and should return to work if safe to do so – but avoid public transport if possible.
Councillor Nutting said: “Following the statement by the Prime Minister on Sunday evening we are now starting to think about how we can start allowing more activity across the whole county, especially to let people enjoy the fresh air and open spaces.
“Shropshire Council is looking at creating more cycling lanes around our town centres and widening pavements to allow pedestrians more space for social distancing.
“We will be bidding for government grant funding from the recently announced £2 billion funds but also using our own highway funds where appropriate.”
It comes as the council progresses talks with business leaders on how to get the county’s economy back up and running when we emerge from the crisis.
“The council will act with great care but we are now thinking about how we can restart the economy in all communities including all market towns,” said Councillor Nutting.
“Shrewsbury and Oswestry have business improvement districts and we will work with them to help local businesses but even the smaller towns will need some help.
“The council has distributed nearly £100 million in government grants but we are now working hard on the discretionary monies that we have recently been allocated to ensure as many firms as possible receive some funding.”
Councillor Nutting also paid tribute to council and NHS staff for their crucial work.
He said: “I would like to give a huge thank you to all the council staff who have worked so hard in difficult circumstances during the last few weeks.
“There has been huge pressure in both adult and children’s services and staff have responded brilliantly but we have also worked hard to keep many other services such as waste collection and road maintenance working at full capacity.
“I must also mention the many staff who have been redeployed into other work in order to support our communities and I would extend my thanks to all staff in all services.
“I must also give huge thanks from all residents locally to the NHS and their incredible work, not just in recent weeks but at all times.
“Shropshire Council has a really good relationship with our local health partners and it is important that after the present crisis passes we continue to give our health partners our full support.”