Boston suburb implements one-way sidewalks to encourage social distancing efforts

Boston suburb implements one-way sidewalks to encourage social distancing efforts
© Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

A Boston suburb will begin implementing one-way sidewalks to promote social distancing, keeping people six feet apart to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Authorities in Beverly, Mass., are enforcing a new rule on Lothrop Street near the city's beach, dividing incoming and oncoming foot traffic into separate sidewalk lanes, according to Boston 25 News.

"In monitoring the area, we noticed there was a tremendous amount of traffic with people walking into each other," said Beverly Police Chief John LeLacheur, explaining the reasoning behind the new rule.

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The enforced rule applies to a more than half-mile stretch on the busy street, with plenty of signage and flashing lights informing pedestrians of which way to walk.

People are required to move on the sidewalk facing vehicle traffic and could be fined $100 for violating the rule.

The city is still under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus, as Massachusetts ranks as the sixth-hardest-hit state for COVID-19 cases: 16,790, with at least 433 reported deaths.

LeLacheur said the trend of segregating foot traffic is being practiced in other parts of Beverly, although police are not enforcing the rule anywhere else in the city.

The police chief hinted that people could continue to follow such guidelines even after stay-at-home orders are lifted.

"This little thing about walking against traffic, it may hang over to when things eventually get back to normal," he said.