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A unique scheme to support the safe reopening of London’s West End has seen the introduction of 15 Social Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs) to help visitors safely transition out of lockdown.

Launched between resource management company Veolia, Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA) and New West End Company (NWEC), the SDA initiative will provide three months of targeted hygiene and social distancing guidance, for those returning to the busy shopping and entertainment district. 

In the area between Bond Street and Piccadilly, 34 hand sanitising stations have been installed and the Social Distancing Ambassadors will be in place seven days a week, between the hours of 8am to 7pm. Their tasks will include: manning and refilling hand sanitising stations, monitoring social distancing protocols, handing out protective masks and gloves with advice on their disposal.

The SDA roles have been filled by Westminster locals through Westminster City Council’s recruitment service, which helps the youth, the long-term unemployed and those from vulnerable backgrounds to find sustainable workplace opportunities. Veolia has also provided the SDAs with specialised safety training to safeguard them as they help to protect the safety of others.  

Helder Branco, Senior Contract Manager for Veolia in Westminster, said: “The Social Distancing Ambassadors initiative is in line with the ongoing commitments of our street cleansing and collections teams to ensure the streets of Westminster are always clean and safe.” 

“Working with Heart of London Business Alliance and New West End Company, we recognised that delivering the safe reopening of the West End - one of the most visited locations in the UK - required a unique plan that puts public health at the forefront. I hope that the highly visible SDA staff and stations will remind people of the need to remain vigilant while in public and to always keep their hands clean.”


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