As a person who has been following the Covid-19 lockdown with as much responsibility as I can, I was dismayed to find that on going to Booths supermarket this Monday for my weekly shop, I found that Allerdale Borough Council, in all its wisdom, had started charging again for the privilege of parking there, with the cash slots in the machines taped up as they don’t want to handle cash.
This is all well and good, but the stupidity of it is clear when you witness people queuing up trying to work out how to use their cards in the machines and not able to do so easily. Lots of fingers pressing lots of buttons with the obvious risk of cross contamination.
Well done Allerdale – and it’s no good putting a small sign next to the machine saying “please clean your hands before using the machines” when many people cannot buy hand sanitiser – and it is made all the more stupid by the fact that in the present situation the only people parking at Booths are locals going into the shop who will be able to get the money back almost straight away anyway using the voucher supplied by the machines.
There are no tourists around and no-one is parking in Booths car park for anything other than going in the store there and it’s hard enough to go shopping and keep the risk of cross contamination down without this added pointless exercise, which definitely must increase the risks.
Allerdale Borough Council has provided the following response to Colin Brind’s letter:
“We are doing everything we can to allow people to use our car parks as safely as possible and reduce the risk of cross infection as the lockdown eases. We operate the car park on behalf of Booths and have been in consultation with them on how best to do this. Like many organisations we are asking for payments by card as this reduces the risk of infection from cash for our staff members.
“In our other car parks we are encouraging people to use the MiPermit app which uses their phone to pay, meaning there is no need to use the machines. This can be downloaded from mobile app stores, and once set-up is easy to use and allows parking to be topped-up to avoid an overstay. However, it is not possible at the moment to use the app in the Booths car park due to the need to provide a ticket for any repayments for supermarket customers.
“However, like in all of our car parks, the machines are being regularly cleaned and, in line with the general messaging from government, we are encouraging people to keep hands clean. We have also painted markers on the footpaths to help people remain at least 2m apart. All our car parks remain free for key workers. More information is on allerdale.gov.uk/coronavirus“