AS lockdown is gradually eased, Fife Council is committed to supporting economic recovery across the region.

To prepare for the increase in footfall Fife Council is rolling out signage and markings to help with queuing and physical distancing on our footpaths and precincts throughout the county.

The council will monitor the situation as shoppers return to each town centre to provide the right level of support to make sure everyone is kept safe.

The shops of Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, and the villages of Crossgates, Hill of Beath, Kelty, Benarty, Cardenden and Kinglassie will all be back open on Monday and the councillors of the Cowdenbeath Area Committee want people to remember the 'shop local' message.

Businesses and Fife Council are putting plans in place for shoppers and visitors returning in very different ways, with reduced capacity in business premises, queuing outside and the potential for some business to use outdoor space.

Cllr. Altany Craik, Convener - Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee, said: “Our towns are starting to get back in business.

"Many residents have missed their local space, and are looking forward to seeing people face-to-face, shop and spend their time in their local town centre. We’d like to reassure local people that we’re working with businesses to keep local people, staff and our communities safe.

“Whilst our towns may look and feel a bit different, we are all looking forward to a return of some sort of normality, bringing vibrancy back to the town and boosting our local economy. Our businesses have done an amazing job to make sure they can open safely and so I would encourage people to support them if they can".

The council is developing recovery plans to help address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on towns and local shopping centres across Fife. As part of this, the council is running a short survey for businesses, to inform how the council can help manage town centres safely for all

Added Councillor Craik: "This has been an extremely tough time for many businesses. We have supported many over lock down, including those that are town centre based, with Government financial support packages and with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Teams have processed over 5,000 Coronavirus Business Support applications, and awarded over 4,500 eligible claims.

"To date, we have paid out almost £50 million in grants to businesses across the region.

The council has also spoken to many businesses about how they could safely operate takeaway services or continue to manufacture or sell essential goods through social distancing and hygiene practices."