Social distancing: guidance on signage and street markings to help manage queues

How shops and businesses can use signage for social distancing

Stay clear image template Temporary signage and footway markings for social distancing do not require a licence or permit

The guidance and advice on this page is intended help shops and other businesses with signage and other measures to support social distancing.

Guidance for shops

Markings on footways

Temporary queue marking indicators on footways are allowed.

The markings should:

  • focus queues along the building frontage as long as this is safe
  • be parallel to the frontage and on one side of the footway to allow people to pass in a safe way

Queues should not extend beyond the frontage of individual shops.

Use temporary degradable paint and renew it when necessary. Permanent paint is not permitted.

We do not recommend stickers or tapes on footways because they can de-bond and cause a slip hazard in wet weather.

Template for footway marking

Hampshire County Council has a template for social distancing markings on footways. We are using this at some bus stops and outside buildings, such as libraries. Download the template for footway markings.

A boards

Signs, such as temporary advertising boards (A boards) are allowed on the footway only to:

  • direct customers to specific entrance and exit points from a shop
  • mark the limit to the length of a queue

The largest allowed size of board is width 600mm and height 900mm.

Legal liability and insurance

Liability for any incident caused by or attributed to an A board or similar lies with the business owner or person who placed it. Any person or business placing an A board or similar on the footpath must check that that they have public liability insurance of at least £5 million.

Temporary pedestrian barriers

Temporary physical pedestrian barriers are permitted to help separate shop entrance and exit routes. There must be enough space for this. Pedestrian barriers must allow people to pass one another and maintain social distancing.

Existing street furniture

To guide social distancing only, you may attach bollard sleeves and temporary signs to existing street furniture. See the advice in: Safer Public Places: Urban Centres and Green Spaces.

If you are attaching a sign to a pole or light column, then mount it at least 2.1m above ground level.


Signs, pedestrian barriers, or similar measures must not cause an un-safe obstruction or safety hazard. Above all, be sure that people:

  • can keep the recommended 2 metres (6ft) social distance from one another
  • do not have to step into the carriageway to move past signs etc

Signs and other measures must not:

  • obstruct other business premises
  • impede or block visibility sight lines
  • cover or block traffic or warning signs
  • impede the flow of surface water drainage
  • obstruct access to fire hydrants, drainage gullies, manhole covers
  • obstruct apparatus owned by a utility company (electricity, water etc)

A boards, pedestrian barriers and other temporary items must be removed at the end of every business day.

Liaison and consultation with businesses

The County Council, as the Highway Authority, is interested to hear proposals and suggestions for effective social distancing in city and town centres.

We will consider proposals alongside County Council schemes and works to reallocate road space in response to Covid-19.

To support the implementation of proposals we are engaging with:

  • businesses
  • business representative groups
  • District Councils
  • Parish/Town Council
  • other organisations 

To submit your proposal please use the new Hampshire Covid-19 travel map. You can:

  • identify locations that may need temporary measures to ensure people can get about safely during the COVID-19 crisis
  • check suggestions which have already been submitted
Maintenance and inspection

All signs and other measures for social distancing must be inspected, ideally daily, and maintained by the installer/owner for the duration of their use.

Liability for the full and final removal of signs and other measures on the footway lies with the installer/owner of the item.

Legal provisions

The following actions are only allowed with the formal written agreement of the County Council as the highway authority:

  • removal of existing street furniture, barrier bollards etc
  • excavation (digging up) of the footway

Any person/business must indemnify Hampshire County Council against all liabilities, claims, costs, expenses, damages and losses. This includes direct, indirect and consequential losses suffered or incurred arising out of or in connection with their actions on the footway (the public highway).

In line with its statutory duty as a Highway Authority, the County Council has the right to take action to ensure the safety of the public. Any action will take the Covid-19 situation into account. We will intervene only where necessary in the interests of public safety etc.