When are shopping centres reopening and how will they work?


SHOPPING centres are prepped to reopen from Monday, following new guidance from the government.

Malls have been closed ever since the lockdown was imposed in March.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that all non-essential retailers can open from June 15.

He urged Brits to get spending to help the economy to “bounce back”.

Although many shopping centres will be open from next week, there are new government guidelines on how to keep people safe.

As such, your usual haunts might look and feel a little bit different.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Social distancing will be a priority, so the layout of shops might change.

The Bullring in Birmingham says it will have a one-way system with clear signs reminding people to keep distanced.

Meanwhile, Westfield says it will have signposted one way entry and exit systems in place to control footfall.

Customers will be asked to ‘keep to the left’ throughout the centre to reduce cross path movements.

Most shopping centres will reduce entry to lifts and customers will be encouraged to use escalators where possible.

Going to the loo may also take longer as there will be reduced entry to toilet blocks.

Shopping centres are likely to do a lot more cleaning, and many will provide hand sanitisers.

For instance, Westfield says hand sanitiser dispensers will be located at every entrance, lift lobby and car park and there will be increased deep cleaning of all public spaces and touchpoints throughout the day.

The Manchester Arndale centre has also added hand sanitisation points throughout the centre, as has the Bullring.

Most centres are introducing cashless parking and customers are likely to be encouraged to park in alternate bays.

Unsurprisingly, centres that offered valet parking are unlikely to keep providing that service for the time being,

For instance, the Bullring says it is only accepting card or contactless payments at the Pay on Foot machines in the car park.

Westfield says it is adding extra cycle racks so people can travel by bike.

Queues may be introduced outside to regulate the number of people in centres, and some people may be asked to come back later if shops are particularly busy.

For instance, Arndale says it will be managing the number of visitors inside the centre and will have controls in place at entrance and exit points.

It says you may also need to queue inside to enter your favourite stores, and there will be graphics on the floor to help you to stay two metres apart from other shoppers.

Westfield has scrapped its mall seating areas and it says the majority of its food hall and restaurants will stay shut for now.

Any cinemas in shopping centres are also likely to remain shut.

The Bullring says that not all stores will be able to reopen initially but it is publishing an up-to-date list of what is and isn’t open here.

Shopping centres will be encouraging card or contactless payments where possible.

This includes payments like parking and guest services.

Westfield says that some individual stores may not accept cash payments at this time.

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Retailers have been provided with a new safety guidance by the government to help them prepare for store re-openings.


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