intu Watford has outlined how it will safely support the gradual reopening of non-essential retail stores at the centre in line with Government guidelines.
The plan drawn up to keep everyone who visits or works there safe includes new social distancing and hygiene procedures and more support to help brands safely reopen their stores.
Whilst unique to intu Watford, it was developed by a taskforce of experts from across intu who used a series of central, common principles for intu’s 14 shopping destinations across the UK as well as research carried out among shopping centre visitors.
It includes placing limits on the number of people and cars allowed into the centre at a time, with some parking bays closed, and there will be a raft of other measures including one-way systems, floor stickers and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.
Enhanced hygiene regimes that were introduced at the start of the outbreak will continue, with more deep cleaning of key areas and touchpoints like escalators, toilets and keypads. These measures have remained in place while intu Watford provides vital access to essential services such as pharmacies, supermarkets and banks during the lockdown period. Hand sanitation stands will also remain at entrances and other locations throughout the centre for visitors to use during their visit.
And intu Watford staff will be given personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe.
The plan is being fully communicated to intu Watford’s brand customers (retailers) 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 Watford 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.”
St Albans favourites deny rumours of new High Street in the sky
Late on Tuesday night, three high profile businesses in St Albans were forced to release statements denying involvement in the launch of a Super High Street above St Albans.
Three of the so called St Albans ‘Big Six’ – Chloe James Lifestyle, Must Wine Bar and Mad Squirrel – have all put out statements denying rumours they plan to create a new St Albans High. The remaining three are expected to make statements in the next 24 hours.
The announcement of a new St Albans High Street has caused enormous uproar across Hertfordshire and beyond, with near universal disbelief from shoppers, local residents and politicians – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Unconfirmed plans suggest a monorail system will be constructed to take shoppers from the iconic clock tower to the yet-to-be confirmed new St Albans High Street somewhere above St Albans Cathedral.
Donna Nichol, owner of the popular independent fashion store Chloe James Lifestyle has issued a statement.
“I have absolutely no idea where this has come from and ironically, I cannot see it getting off the ground. We have been welcoming back our customers and have enjoyed the buzz of a busy shop. Why would I want to move my store 30 feet above St Albans?
I have just recently updated the shop window with a new French brand called FRNCH – how will anyone see it? Ignore the rumours and find us where we have been keeping St Albans fashionable for the last ten years.”
Mad Squirrel St Albans have also put out a strong worded statement in response to news of the Super High Street. General Manager James has gone on record and said “Of the 25 beers we have on tap, nothing is that strong”.
“We have been here in St Albans for almost two years and whilst we are accustomed to hearing the occasional bit of nonsense in the taproom, this idea is farcical. Beer and heights don’t mix so we will remain on the ground floor of St Albans in Heritage Close serving the finest beers to St Albans residents.”
Mad Squirrel has quickly established itself as one of the predominant beer destinations in St Albans. With access from the footpath towards the Abbey, it would seem a strange decision from management but when you are around beer all day, anything can happen.
Local resident Isabelle Ringing who we interviewed shopping in St Albans said the idea was nonsense. “St Albans is unique and residents love it the way it is. Why? a monorail? I just can’t get my head around it – we don’t need this nonsense in St Albans.”
Must Wine located on George Street were also quick to release a statement in regards to the rumours. Wine Steward and c0-owner Mike Nuttall explained, “I get the idea – great minds drink alike and the concept of tasting the finest wines with breathtaking views of Hertfordshire is idyllic.
However, the individual who came up with the pour decision of running a monorail above St Albans is clearly on cloud wine.” Must Wine will continue run wine tasting classes on George Street.
As these rumours of a break-away high street continue to spread, the TrendLife team will continue to keep you updated with facts instead of fiction.
St Albans’ favourite Chloe James Lifestyle prepares for reopening
As one of St Albans’ favourite destinations for all things haute couture, we are excited that Chloe James Lifestyle have announced they will be reopening this coming Monday 12th April.
Regular St Albans shoppers will know Chloe James Lifestyle has been a fixture on High Street St Albans for over 10 years. Despite being extremely busy preparing for the reopening, Owner Donna Nichol has shared her thoughts on reopening Chloe James Lifestyle and what changes fashionistas can expect.
What are you looking forward to most at Chloe James Lifestyle?
Personally, I’m really looking forward to the buzz of a busy shop again – lots of chat and laughter and the general feel good vibes of helping people look and feel their best. Nothing beats it! When we reopen, we are going straight back to our normal hours i.e. 10-5.30 Monday to Saturday and 11-4 on Sunday. We can’t wait to open the doors again and welcome our customers back in!
What new changes can we expect at Chloe James Lifestyle?
The shop has had a complete refresh. Every single inch has been cleaned and there are lots of new products for our customers to enjoy, including great gift lines and a new jewellery brand as well as our Spring fashion collections. One of my personal favourites is a new French fashion label called FRNCH which we are currently featuring in our window – the colours are just stunning!
We love what independent businesses bring to St Albans. How do you think shoppers will respond post lockdown?
I believe there’s going to be a real return to shopping small. After all, we are the ones who have carried on throughout the pandemic, finding ways to adapt to our customers’ needs, offering Click & Collect and always being at the end of a phone to help find the perfect birthday gift. We’ve even personally delivered them on a specific date when it was possible!
We’ve also kept our windows vibrant to cheer up the daily walk and many people have said how much they loved this. It’s become apparent to everyone how much small independent businesses add to their community and we really must make sure they don’t disappear!
About Chloe James – Chloe James Lifestyle is an elegant lifestyle boutique based in St Albans specialising in fashion, art, stylish interiors and beautiful gifts.
AKILA have joined forces with techwear designer Charli Cohen
LA based eyewear brand AKILA have joined forces with UK based techwear designer Charli Cohen to create Halo. A special limited edition capsule collection, AKILA x Charli Cohen Halo drops this Easter Weekend.
AKILA Eyewear are designed to last & handcrafted from eco-friendly plant-based cellulose acetate. Unlike most other eyewear brands, Akila frames are made from cellulose acetate — an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum based plastics.
Charli Cohen was born out of a need for evolved clothing and progression within the fashion industry. They specialise in NEXTWEAR: a concept that looks to the future of fashion, aesthetically, in terms of technology and in terms of sustainability.
ABOUT CHARLI COHEN
Charli Cohen manufacture limited quantities of each style in London, Leicester, Porto and Shanghai. Using premium, responsibly produced technical textiles from Milan, as well as upcycling from military surplus and tacticalwear, Charli Cohen is a brand to follow.
This frame boasts a retro industrial look that combines hard-edged style with ergonomic comfort. Featuring a wrap-around shape, all pairs include a barb-wire chain retainer which can be attached to metal eyelets on each temple or worn as a necklace.
This capsule collection drops Friday 2nd April at AKILA