A team of colourful stilt walkers were out and about visiting Cornish towns at the end of lockdown to remind visitors in an entertaining and visible way to respect social distancing and to follow the ‘Hands, Face and Space’ guidance.

Their appearance in Helston preceded the free parking day in the town being offered in Cornwall Council-operated car parks on December 19 and in Falmouth on December 12, 19 and 26 at Church Street, Grove Place, The Dell, The Moor, Town Quarry and Well Lane car parks.

Cornwall’s high streets are expected to be particularly busy now that they have safely reopened following the second lockdown. With only a few shopping weeks left before Christmas, Cornwall Council says it is important that residents can feel reassured that their Covid-safety is top of mind at all times.

While shoppers are giving much-needed support to local independent businesses they can know that all possible measures are being taken to look after their well-being.

The street performing team is being paid for under the Reopening High Streets Safely project which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund*.

Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for the economy, Tim Dwelly, said: “We hope everyone will enjoy the light-hearted touch that the stilt walkers will bring in reminding people to follow the Hands, Face and Space guidance that will help keep us all safe.

“We can all be immensely relieved that our town centres and high streets have been able to fully re-open in time to benefit from the busy few weeks before Christmas.

“This is a particularly critical time for them. They really are dependent on our support to recover safely and sustainably and the recent news of the loss of some very big name, high street brands is a very real wake-up call.

“It is hoped that people throughout Cornwall take full advantage of the free parking days and the extended shopping hours in the next few weeks.”

Cornwall Council says it is working with local councils to make sure that local neighbourhood shopping areas and high streets remain open safely. This is being achieved with the help made available through the EU's Reopening of High Streets Safely Fund which is available until March 2021.

It says this will be especially important during what is hoped will be a very busy pre-Christmas shopping period, and the three months of trading immediately prior to Easter next year.

It is recommending these five safety tips will help people enjoy and make the most of a high street visit:

1) Go with the flow – keep your distance and follow all local signage.

2) Be safe – plan ahead, be considerate, responsible and patient.

3) Say ‘hi’ (Dydh da) to any Covid advisors or local information officers you come across. They’re there to help and guide you.

4) Help us help you stay safe - remember to wash your hands often, use free sanitiser stations, use contactless payment and follow other hygiene advice such as wearing a face covering when needed.

5) Visit with confidence. Cornwall’s high street businesses are working hard to help protect the safety of customers and staff. Look out for their Covid-19 risk assessment certificate.