‘We cannot risk a second wave in our borough’: Shoppers urged to stay safe as Newham retailers reopen

Shoppers at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre before lockdown. Picture: Ken Mears

Shoppers at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre before lockdown. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The council has urged people to follow social distancing and hygiene guidance when shopping to help avoid a “disastrous” second wave of coronavirus.

Many shops, market stalls, and non-essential retailers have reopened this week as lockdown restrictions are adjusted, but people visiting these businesses are asked to be patient, stay safe and keep the threat of the virus in mind.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “Newham has painfully endured one of the worst mortality rates from coronavirus of anywhere in the country.

“We cannot risk a second wave in our borough, which would be disastrous for all Newham residents.

“The lifting of lockdown restrictions to return to shops classed as non-essential is something we have been eagerly awaiting – but we are all concerned about ensuring that the easing of lockdown restrictions is done in a way that reflects and responds to the local context.”

The council has worked with high streets and businesses to ensure they are reopening in line with social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Retailers must demonstrate they have completed a coronavirus risk assessment and are complying with the guidance.

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Ms Fiaz said: “The way we shop is going to be different for a while and visits might take longer than usual.

“Please do not give up your resolve. Continue to practise social distancing and hygiene measures.

“Let’s not risk slipping back and allowing the virus another chance.

“Please stay safe and protect the fragile recovery we have worked so hard to achieve.”

Customers can expect to wait in queues outside shops because many of them will have limits on how many customers can be inside.

People should keep two metres apart while in queues.

Those queuing on the street should stand to the side of the pavement to allow other users to pass with a two-metre gap.

People are encouraged to wear a face covering, which is now mandatory on all forms of public transport, and use hand sanitiser regularly when they are out.

It’s advised to walk or cycle if possible because there is reduced capacity on all public transport.

• READ MORE: Safety first as Newham retail centres prepare to reopen