Croydon town centre’s two major shopping malls will reopen for business after the coronavirus lockdown in two weeks’ time, it was confirmed today. But it will not be “business as usual” for a while, as pandemic measures will include controlling the number of visitors entering the shopping centres.
Centrale and the Whitgift Centre will reopen on June 15, “in line with the latest guidance from the government”, a statement issued this morning said.
During lockdown, the centres’ essential stores remained open, but now shoppers are encouraged to check the centres’ website for information on specific opening times before they visit. Some restaurants will be available for takeaway and delivery services, with further guidance expected from the government in the coming weeks on when these venues can reopen for dine-in customers.
Customers returning to the shopping centres for the first time since lockdown began in March will notice a range of measures introduced with the intention of making their visits as safe as possible. These include:
- A one-way system at Centrale to help customers safely navigate the centre
- Clear signage throughout reminding consumers of the need to follow social distancing guidance, and to avoid shopping in large groups
- Use of the centres’ communication channels including social media, digital in-mall displays and tannoy announcements to remind visitors about how to stay safe
- Enhanced cleaning processes, with a clear focus on key customer touch points
- Installation of fixed hand sanitiser stations throughout the destinations
- All customer-facing centre staff will wear protective clothing
- Customers will be encouraged to use contactless payment with retailers for transactions
The statement also says that there will be “Live monitoring of footfall to ensure there aren’t too many people in the centre at any one time”.
While the car parks will be open, customers are told to “check the website before they visit if they wish to use the destinations’ services, as some may not be available”.
Joanne Bailey, the general manager at Centrale, said: “It has been a really challenging time for everyone, and we are hugely grateful to the key workers that have done so much over the past few months.
“At Centrale, we’re working really hard to make sure we can reopen on June 15, and that we can do so safely. We ask that people be patient with us though, as the way we shop is going to be different for a while, and visits might take longer than usual. We can’t wait to reopen, and to welcome back our customers.”
And Mark Bourgeois, the managing director of Centrale’s owners, Hammerson, said: “Our priority is the safety and well-being of all of our customers, retailers and colleagues. We have considered carefully how to create an operating environment that allows the centre and brands to reopen safely.
“Throughout our destinations we will display clear information for consumers on how to shop in this new environment, and we also have technology in place allowing us to monitor visitor numbers, to ensure there are never too many people in our spaces at any one time.”
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