Shopping centre giant intu has outlined how it will safely support the gradual reopening of non-essential stores at its 14 shopping centres across the UK, in line with new government guidelines.
Individual plans have been tailored for each intu site, which include the Trafford Centre in Manchester, the Lakeside in Essex and the Gateshead Metrocentre.
New social distancing and hygiene procedures will see the addition of queuing zones to help limit the number of customers inside a shop, limits on the number of people and cars allowed into each centre at a time, as well as the closing of some parking bays.
Other measures including one-way systems, floor stickers and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.
Ramped-up hygiene regimes introduced at the start of the outbreak will continue, with more deep cleaning of key areas and touchpoints like escalators, toilets and keypads. Hand sanitation stands will also remain at entrances and around the centres for visitors to use during their visit. Intu staff will also be given personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe.
The plan is being fully communicated to intu brand customers who will continue to be provided with support to help them reopen safely and in line with Government guidelines, such as with queuing zones in the malls to ensure social distancing can be maintained inside stores.
Matthew Roberts, chief executive of intu, said: “intu is the biggest landlord for most of our brand customers so we have been working to help them plan the reopening of their stores as soon and as safely as they can.
“Experts from across intu have formed a specialist taskforce who have considered everything we need to run intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre and our others centres as safely as possible, with a series of central, common principles for the portfolio and individual plans for each centre.
“This includes working with our brand customers and providing them with all the support they need to reopen safely, as well as new social distancing and hygiene procedures to keep everyone who visits or works in our centres safe.
“We have introduced enhanced cleaning regimes and hand sanitation stands throughout every centre, measures to limit the number of visitors and ensure they stay socially distanced once inside, and given our staff the protective equipment they need to stay safe.
“We know we cannot do this alone and everyone who visits our centres whether for work or to shop will play their part in keeping themselves and each other safe by following the official guidelines, and the instructions and safety information provided by our teams. Our teams have been working incredibly hard to keep our centres clean and safe during the lockdown and we are hugely grateful to them, and we would also like to thank our brand customers and visitors for all their cooperation and patience so far.”