One-way systems, hand sanitiser stations and Safety Ambassadors are in place ready to welcome visitors back to Blackburn town centre from Monday.
From 15 June, non-essential retail stores will be lifting their shutters and opening their doors to customers for the first time in months – but some changes have been implemented to ensure the safety of all visitors.
The Mall shopping centre will be operating a one-way system. Only selected entrances will be open and there will be limited capacity to ensure that guests can observe social distancing. This will be managed by Mall security and if there are queues, we ask visitors for their patience.
Although The Mall will operate its normal trading hours not all shops and eateries will be open with immediate effect. Please check with The Mall’s website or give them a call if there is a particular store you would like to visit to avoid disappointment. Some toilet facilities and the children’s play area will remain closed and social distancing will be maintained throughout the centre with markers, signage and security staff on hand to assist.
Blackburn with Darwen Council are providing temporary additional public toilets in the King William Street area.
The Market will also be operating a one-way system, with access via Church Street and exit via Ainsworth Street by the bus station. There won’t be any seating available, but the majority of stalls will be open, and food outlets will be offering takeaway only.
No road closures are deemed necessary at this point in the largely pedestrianised town centre, and this will help keep disruption to a minimum.
Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development, said: “It’s good news for our town centres that we are able to reopen businesses next week. I know the teams at the markets have been working hard to make the changes needed to make sure shopping will be as safe as possible, but we will need the help of our customers too.
“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back and hope everyone will continue to support all the small businesses that are at the heart of our local communities.”
The Council and Blackburn BID will be supporting town centre businesses outside of The Mall to operate queuing systems where needed and manage limited capacity in shops. Stores will also have their own measures in place to maintain social distancing so customers should follow safety instructions inside.
Meanwhile Blackburn BID has also launched their new mobile app ‘Experience Blackburn’ – which will form part of their recovery and transformational marketing campaign to support Blackburn town centre businesses through the pandemic and post-coronavirus. It is now available on both android and via the App Store.
Experience Blackburn will be rolled out in phases with the first phase focusing on providing confidence and reassurance to customers that Blackburn town centre is a safe and well managed place to return to.
Catherine Price, Blackburn BID Manager, said: “Although it might be a different experience shopping in Blackburn town centre for the time being, everyone is working together to make Blackburn a safe and enjoyable place to visit.
“Experience Blackburn is a long-term promotional campaign and will be part of a range of measures delivered by Blackburn BID to support our members and promote the town centre.”
Loraine Jones, General Manager at The Mall Blackburn, said: “We are looking forward to the first step of a return to a new normal.
“It is the first time the shopping centre has had to operate in this way and it will be a learning curve for everyone. We are asking shoppers to be patient and kind.”