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Walk the Chalk in Nelson’s City Centre | Nelson City Council

Councillor Pete Rainey (left) and Chief Medical Officer for Nelson Marlborough Health Dr Nick Baker are shown the stencils outside Civic House by City Centre Development Programme Lead Alan Gray.

Walk the Chalk in Nelson’s City Centre

20 May 2020

As Nelsonians return to the city centre, Nelson City Council, in conjunction with Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH), is encouraging people to Walk the Chalk – keep left and keep safe on busy footpaths.

Nelson’s newly reopened businesses need community support, and it’s important that support is done safely and kindly, by following the Government’s 2-metre physical distancing guidelines, being courteous to others and sharing our footpaths.

Councillor Pete Rainey, City Centre Working Group Chair, said our central city footpaths are 3 metres wide, so keeping left, where practical, will help pedestrians maintain a safe distance from each other.

“Simple things like keeping left on the footpath and where that’s not possible, waiting for the space on the right-hand side to clear before proceeding, are easy, common-sense steps we can all take to help each other as we all find our way again after the COVID-19 shutdown.”

Council and NMH are encouraging people to Walk the Chalk and remember their footpath etiquette by stencilling a small number of arrows on the footpaths of Trafalgar, Bridge and Hardy Streets – areas home to Nelson’s highest amount of foot traffic.

The stencils are being laid using non-toxic, washable chalk spray. They will be installed overnight on Wednesday, 20 May to avoid business disruption.

To help, retailers are asked to be mindful of their sandwich board and flag placement, taking care not to impede the flow of foot traffic.

Chief Medical Officer for Nelson Marlborough Health Dr Nick Baker said it was important people continued to practice physical distancing.

“Businesses, restaurants and schools are going to great effort to give people the space they need to stay out of each other’s ‘moist breath zone’, so we need to play our part when out shopping and exercising and enjoying our parks and playgrounds again.”

As more people returned to the streets, it was important people felt safe, particularly the elderly and vulnerable members of our community, Dr Baker said.

“We cannot contact trace casual contacts from footpaths so it is important to keep spacing to limit the risks. Keeping left can improve flow and safety on footpaths just as it does on the roads.”

As we move down the alert levels, people would be coming into contact with more people, in more places, Dr Baker said.

Keeping your distance from other people in public and continuing to practice good health etiquette – washing hands for 20 seconds and drying them well, sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face –
was key to staying well.

“The COVID-19 virus is spread on droplets from coughs, sneezes and moist breath. So are influenza and cold viruses. This winter we will worry every illness could be COVID so it is even more important to avoid catching any virus. Play it safe, and keep your distance.”

If you are sick, stay home and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your GP and get tested. Don’t go to work or school and don’t socialise if you are not feeling well.

Council is seeking feedback from retailers about how they and their customers are adjusting to business post-COVID-19 shutdown.

Measures to temporarily widen footpaths on Trafalgar Street and the south side of Hardy and Bridge Streets with bollards and signage were put on hold this month after further discussion with retailers, and will not proceed.

Further public feedback on a range of options aimed at encouraging a thriving city centre will be sought in early June.

An example of the finished stencil.


Credit: Nelson City Council


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