COUNCIL chiefs are to suspend car parking charges for three months on all council-owned car parks to help frontline staff who still need to travel to work during the coronavirus crisis.

The move, which comes into force from tomorrow (Thursday March 26), will mean people will not have to touch parking machines to get tickets, reducing the risk of contamination and spreading the virus.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley's cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services, said: "We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our frontline staff who out of necessity are still out and about performing their duties to help us all fight the coronavirus.

"This is to help them – we don’t want people abusing it to make an unnecessary trip to the shops, many of which are closed in our town centres now anyway.

"It will reduce the risk of spreading the virus through people not having to touch the machines and get tickets, and we will explore ways in which we can redeploy our parking wardens.

"We will review the situation after three months and extend it if necessary.

"All other parking conditions will still apply during the three-month period."

The move will also free up parking wardens to potentially be redeployed elsewhere.

Council bosses have reiterated that people should still only be leaving the house if absolutely necessary in line with government guidelines.