Shoppers will be given an extra free month of parking across Wirral in an effort to help businesses hit hard by the lockdown.
Parking charges have been suspended since the start of the pandemic for council-run car parks and on street parking, but they were due to be reintroduced on July 1.
Last month, the ECHO revealed Wirral Council was considering extending free parking and this move has now gone ahead.
Parking will be free until Sunday, August 2, with charges reintroduced at previous rates from the following day Monday, August 3.
The additional free month will cost the council between £30,000 and £50,000, a significant amount in these cash-strapped times.
Cllr Julie McManus, Wirral Council’s cabinet member for community services, said: “The suspension of car parking charges at the outset of the pandemic was a useful measure to help key workers and those struggling financially under the lockdown.
“It is vital now that as we move to the next stage of tackling this pandemic and more shops and businesses re-open that we support them.
“This additional month of free parking will, I hope, encourage people to begin supporting local businesses again.”
But Cllr McManus added a word of warning to her encouragement.
The Labour councillor said: “By adding an extra month to the suspension of car parking charges I hope people will be sensible and not all rush to the shops at the same time.
“The coronavirus has not gone away yet – we are just moving on to a new phase of dealing with the illness and I would urge everyone to remember to follow social distancing and handwashing advice.”
Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber of Commerce, said: “We welcome this latest move from Wirral Borough Council as part of a series of significant steps taken by the authority over the past few months to support communities and small businesses throughout this pandemic.
“Whilst coronavirus is still rife across the country and remains a risk it is vital that our businesses and local council work in partnership to get through this delicate stage of our economy slowly starting to re-start.
“With Wirral Chamber’s key campaign on saving local high-streets, on behalf of all small businesses we welcome this with open arms.”