More shops are opening as many of us yearn for a normal routine again
- Credit: Romford Shopping Hall
All non-essential shops are allowed to reopen in England on Monday (June 15) and retailers across the country have been getting ready to open their doors.
But how have Havering shopping centres been preparing and are people ready to peruse the high streets? Romford Shopping Hall has a socially distanced marking system to guide shoppers.
Directional arrows have been put on the floor, along with two-metre markers throughout the centre.
Notices for one person/household per lift have been put in place, as well as distance-markings on escalators.
There is hand sanitiser at the entrance and exit and one person is allowed to use the toilets at a time.
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Shops have taken further steps to minimise contact. Alpha Books will have a drop box for returned books, Hawkins and Son butchers will have a one-way system in place and Sunrise Café is open for takeaway or phone orders.
Sales and marketing manager of Romford Shopping Hall, Michelle Fitzgibbons, said: “These are challenging times for our unit owners. They are adapting really well to accommodate the new face of retail and our shops are looking forward to welcoming our loyal shoppers back.”
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Likewise, the Mercury Mall has put in one-way systems and line markers, and will be limiting the number of people.
Centre manager Spencer Hawken said footfall has already increased by 40% since the middle of May, with people now looking to find some normality.
He said: “We think that people want to get back into a normal routine.
“We all have questions about infection and death rates, but the reality is we can’t wait in lockdown forever, hoping for a cure that might not come – while it’s a possibility we are more likely to see the virus burn itself out.”
Mr Hawken also said that as well as the obvious economic need, shopping could also serve a social purpose.
“If the option [of shopping] was not there, we’d reach levels with people congregating in places for something to do, to try and replicate normality. This creates bigger risks.
“Reducing this, by giving people purpose, makes incredibly good sense.”