Watford town centre, and other retail areas across the town, are gearing up to welcome people back as non-essential shops reopen on Monday (15 June), with a range of measures in place to make sure they can shop safely and with confidence.
Over the last few weeks, Watford Borough Council has been working with Hertfordshire County Council, Watford BID and intu Watford to provide more space for people to move safely around the town centre. This will ensure people keep their distance and queue where needed to enter shops, banks and takeaways.
Shops and businesses have all been offered tailored support from the council’s Environmental Health team to make sure they are doing what is needed to keep their staff and customers safe. People should look out for the Watford ‘confidence mark’ which shows a business has taken steps to follow guidance and are prioritising people’s safety.
Watford BID has provided five hand sanitising units throughout the town centre and introduced a ‘one way’ system through the High Street – just follow the pink and green stickers on the pavement. Stewards are also on hand to manage queues and providing advice and support to visitors – they will be keeping a particular eye out for any visitors who might need a bit of extra help.
Many stores in intu will be opening their doors for the first time since March. The centre has introduced its own safety measures, including managing the number of visitors inside the centre and putting controls in place at the entrance and exit points at Queens Road.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said “We are looking forward to welcoming people back to the High Street and other shopping areas across the town. Whilst they may look and feel a bit different, we are all looking forward to a return of some sort of normality, bringing vibrancy back to the town and boosting our local economy. Our businesses have done an amazing job to make sure they can open safely and so I would encourage people to support them if they can. It is important we all keep a safe distance from others, washing or sanitise our hands regularly and walk or cycle if that is possible”.
Maria Manion, Chief Executive of Watford BID said “Watford has such a vibrant and thriving town centre, with the renovated High Street, intu extension and brilliant businesses operating in the High Street all making it a great place to shop and eat. Watford is also one of the top 20 shopping destinations in the UK, and to help keep it that way, we are encouraging people to support our local businesses after the challenging few months they have been through.
With more retailers opening from the 15 June, what we would say to people is actually allow more time because this is not going to be your normal shopping experience that you’re used to and be prepared to spend more time in the town centre”