SOUTHEND’S seafront contraflow – introduced to promote social distancing – is to be removed by July 4.

It follows PM Boris Johnson’s move to further ease Covid-19 restrictions with the opening of restaurants, cafes and bars and the relaxation of the 2m rule.

The widened promenade was introduced in mid-May as part of a package of measures to help protect public safety and help people keep two metres apart as lockdown restrictions were first eased.

It cost a total of £75,000 which included £44,000 to purchase 1,200 barriers, £6,500 to purchase 750 cones and £6,000 for new signs

The contraflow was reduced in length last weekend and will be removed completely by Saturday July 4.

The Government has stated that ‘where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’.

This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.’

The contraflow removal will also bring the remaining suspended parking bays along Western Esplanade back into use for seafront visitors from Saturday July 4.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, says: “We have taken a balanced approach to this all along, and kept the contraflow under regular review.

“Last week we reduced the stretch from Chalkwell Esplanade to Shorefield Road, and said that if the Government announced a reduction on the 2 metre social distancing advice then we would look to remove the contraflow completely, as it would no longer be needed for that purpose.

“That change in advice was announced yesterday alongside a further easing of lockdown, both of which will come into place from Saturday July 4.

“We will therefore remove the contraflow by Saturday July 4. We continue to urge local people and visitors to stay safe, stay apart and to visit Southend safely at this time.”