Safety first as Newham retail centres prepare to reopen
- Credit: Archant
The safety of customers and staff is the focus as shopping centres, high streets and retail outlets across Newham prepare to reopen next week.
Non-essential retailers can open their doors to customers from Monday, June 15 - almost three months after closing indefinitely when the UK entered lockdown on March 23 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Newham Chamber of Commerce chairman Lloyd Johnson said: “It has been a hard time for everyone in every sector, but I believe that leisure and certain parts of retail have been hit the hardest.
“Retail being allowed to open up is a real boost to all employers and employees in this area.
“Taking a cautious approach to opening up is the right thing to do and supporting local and national government by keeping us all safe and following guidelines.
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“Business needs to focus on safety first and the sales will come naturally.”
Retail hotspots such as the Stratford Centre and Gallions Reach Shopping Park are working hard to implement measures to keep customers, visitors and staff safe when they return.
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Shops must adhere to new government guidelines, including measures to meet hygiene and social distancing standards, if they open.
Stratford Centre manager Tony Peters said people will be rightfully cautious about returning to public places given the impact the pandemic has had, but “every effort” is being made to protect them.
“We understand the importance of getting these measures right, not only to ensure everyone coming into our centre is safe, but that they also feel confident that their health and wellbeing is being considered at every point,” he said.
“Our centre teams have been working extremely hard under huge pressure, and we are immensely grateful to them, but we know we cannot do this alone and everyone who visits our centre will play a part in keeping themselves and others safe by following the official guidelines, instructions and information provided by our teams.
“While safety is paramount, we look forward to welcoming our visitors and non-essential retailers back as they gradually reopen to serve the community.”
In Beckton, it is expected that most stores at Gallions Reach Shopping Park will also open on June 15.
Centre manager Andy Pay said: “Each store will have their own social distancing inside to include sanitisation for customers, screen guards for till points and capacity measures; some stores may also operate a one-way system.”
Throughout the centre there will be signage about social distancing practices, queuing systems for each store and regular, thorough cleaning - including in public toilets.
Mr Pay said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the community back to the park with customer safety at the forefront of our priorities.
“All measures will be reviewed regularly to ensure a continually safe shopping environment.”