POWYS has been given more than half-a-million pounds to help prepare its residents, transport and businesses for reopening this week.

The Welsh Government announced it is spending £15 million for a Covid-19 relief fund, with £600,000 going towards Powys to help pay for work that will enable social distancing to be observed on roads and on public transport.

The £600,000 will be spent on the reallocation of road space in and into High Streets; social distancing to and from schools and the creation of safe, wide cycle lanes on public transport corridors and major bus routes into town.

The money will also be used to establish 'Play Streets' and will finance the provision of E-bikes for key workers, plus social distancing measures at popular destinations and attractions.

Councillor James Evans, Cabinet member for economy, housing and regulatory services, welcomed the funding, and believes it will more than help prepare the county to reopen.

He said: "This latest announcement from Welsh Government means we can now take the next step in gradually getting Powys back open for business.

"I very much look forward to seeing more businesses trading again after a difficult few months, but we know this must be done safely and responsibly.

"We must all continue to stay local and follow social distancing rules. Our town centres and retail trade will need to operate accordingly, helping to minimise the risk of infection and protect lives.

"Everyone will need to play their part to keep our high streets safe. This is a big task and alongside partners, the council is drawing up specific plans for each town.

"As we move forward measures will be developed and monitored with our county and town councillors. A dedicated group has been set up within the council to work closely with each of the main towns and help with complex matters.

"Some of the initial temporary measures that we will put in place include cleaning carpark pay points more regularly, cordoning off sections of on-street parking, and closing a limited number of streets.

"There will be a greater need for street space but we appreciate the practicality of this will vary from town to town. The responsibility remains for us all to follow the guidance and be aware of our surroundings.

"As a council we will continue to support our local businesses while doing everything we can to keep people safe in our towns and communities.

"To help boost the Powys economy we have launched a new campaign to encourage people to use their high streets and 'support local'. I urge everyone to get behind local businesses so they can recover and thrive once again."