Parking charges in council-owned car parks and on-street parking in the town centre will be suspended all day on Saturdays and after 12pm Sunday to Friday.
South Tyneside Council chiefs hope the offer will help boost the economy and support the reopening of the non-essential shops, other businesses and the hospitality industry.
The offer will run from next Monday, May 17, in line with the next phase of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
It does not apply to seafront car parks, where visitors will still have to pay.
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “The last year has been extremely challenging for our business community, particularly the retail and hospitality industries, and we’re keen to do all we can to help them recover.
“We’re offering temporary free parking as an additional incentive to visit the town centre, do a bit of shopping or get a bite to eat.
“We’ve extended the offer all day on Saturdays to encourage people to come and browse and buy in our fantastic market.”
Parking charges have long been a bugbear for some, with critics claiming they put people off visiting shops in the town centre.
But council chiefs said the free parking offer, which will run until August 31, supports the key priorities set out by the council earlier this year to create the conditions for recovery and investment, and to support town centres, high streets and hospitality.
Cllr Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “This offer will benefit shoppers, visitors and traders alike.
“Businesses large and small are the backbone of our local economy and it’s vital we support them in any way we can.”
Years of closures have seen many high street chains pulling out of South Shields with WH Smith being one of the most recent big-name stores to close in King Street.
The Debenhams store was another recent casualty, with the company announcing during the first national lockdown that the Waterloo Square store would not reopen. New owner Boohoo subsequently closed all branches after taking over the stricken company.
For more information about town centre car parks, visit https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/38111/South-Shields-Town-Centre-car-parks