Reopening Oxford

Guidance for shoppers

Oxford city centre will look very different when you next visit.

This page provides an overview of what’s changed, tips before travelling and what to do when you arrive.

Tell us what you think of the changes to Oxford city centre

Do you have any questions or comments about the safe reopening of the city? We will monitor all responses and, if you are seeking more information, we will respond as soon as possible.

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What’s changed?

Some of the key changes to Oxford from Monday 15 June include:

  • A one-way pedestrian flow system on the busiest streets in the city centre and on Cowley Road to help people maintain social distancing
  • In all shopping areas, temporary signs on street furniture and spray paint stencils on the ground encouraging people to support social distancing
  • Removal of obstructions to the pedestrian flow, including advertising A-boards, busking sites and street trading sites
  • Designated rest areas – Gloucester Green, Bonn Square and Broad Street – to decrease the number of people blocking thoroughfares
  • New bike parking at Park and Rides to encourage people to cycle part of their journey into Oxford
  • Upgraded cleaning regime, including frequent cleaning of bins, bike racks and bus stops
Map showing the one-way pedestrian flow in Oxford city centre. People are asked to keep to the left-hand pavements in St Aldate's, High Street, Cornmarket Street, George Street, Hythe Bridge Street and Queen Street.
Map showing one-way pedestrian flow system in Oxford city centre

Text description of maps

For more information about the changes to Oxford city centre, please read our press release.

We are planning more changes in the coming weeks, including more bike parking, and installing zones for outdoor tables and chairs to support restaurants and cafes.

Oxfordshire County Council, the transport authority for Oxford, is also planning to widen cycle lanes and footpaths, and install more bike parking.

Map showing the one-way pedestrian flow system in Cowley Road. People are asked to keep to the left-hand pavement in Cowley Road, between Magdalen Road and The Plain.
Map showing one-way pedestrian flow system in Cowley Road

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All of this work is being carried out to ensure you can maintain social distancing, and Oxford is as safe as possible for shops and businesses to reopen.

We have been guided by the Government when designing the changes. The Government has recommended that people consider all other forms of transport before using public transport, and they are encouraging cycling or walking wherever possible.

Streets where one-way pedestrian flow guidance applies

You should walk on the left hand side pavement, in the same direction as traffic, on the following streets: Hythe Bridge Street, George Street, Magdalen Street West, Magdalen Street East, Broad Street, Cornmarket Street, New Inn Hall Street, Queen Street, St Aldate’s, High Street, and Cowley Road from The Plain to Magdalen Road.

Tips before travelling

To protect your community, you should not travel if you are:

Some tips to consider before travelling:

  • Review or print out the one-way pedestrian flow map so that you can plan your city centre journey
  • If possible, avoid shopping during busy times (such as Saturday afternoons) and use side roads to avoid busier streets
  • Allow longer for your trip – there could be queues to enter shops
  • The Government says people should wear a face covering while travelling, and wearing a face covering is now required on public transport
  • Remember to bring a contactless payment method with you to avoid touching cash or chip-and-pin machines
  • Wash your hands before and after your trip into Oxford

The Government recommends that, if you can, you should walk or cycle to shops and businesses.

If you need to use public transport, check with your transport operator for the latest travel advice before starting your journey:

If you need to arrive by car, the city’s car parks and street parking options remain open. Standard parking charge rules apply.

The Government has provided further guidance and advice for travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tips for when you arrive in Oxford

Oxford city centre will look very different when you arrive.

  • Follow the new one-way and queueing systems
  • Keep your distance from other people
  • Do not block the pavement
  • Look out for others, particularly disabled and elderly people

Not all disabilities are visible – some are not immediately obvious, such as learning difficulties or mental health, as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments. Look out for people wearing the sunflower lanyard. This is a discreet indication that the wearer may need additional support or a little more time.

By working together and looking out for each other, we can protect Oxford from the coronavirus pandemic.

Do you need any help navigating the changes?

If you are planning ahead and need any help navigating the changes, please fill out the form above and we will be back in touch within a working day.

If you are already in town and need assistance, please call 01865 249811 and one of our officers in the city will try to help.

We have also provided information about the support available to organisations in Oxford that support disabled people.

There have been no changes to the way the Blue Badge scheme works in Oxford.

Funding to reopen Oxford

The project to reopen Oxford city centre and the city's other shopping areas has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, HM Government and Oxford City Council.

The work is being carried out by Oxford City Council in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council.

Banner image that says: Keep your distance, look out for each other, and protect your community.