A new look is a sign of the times for Peterborough Queensgate as it prepares to re-open on Monday

One of the many hand sanitiser signs that have gone up at Queensgate.One of the many hand sanitiser signs that have gone up at Queensgate.
One of the many hand sanitiser signs that have gone up at Queensgate.
Thousands of social distancing signs and floor markers have been strategically sited throughout Queensgate shopping centre as its stores and car parks prepare to fully re-open on Monday.

Keeping shoppers safe and healthy is now the top priority for bosses of the 38-year-old centre as its so-called ‘non-essential’ retailers are allowed to start trading from their stores after the 12 weeks Covid 19-enforced closure.

It has been another hurdle to get over for the centre, which is also in the midst of a £60 million cinema-led leisure extension due for completion next year.

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Centre director Mark Broadhead said: “Since non-essential retailers closed in March, we have been planning on how to safely support re-opening of our non-essential retailers.

Direction arrows through Westgate Arcade.Direction arrows through Westgate Arcade.
Direction arrows through Westgate Arcade.

“With our essential retailers, Boots and Marks & Spencer being partially open during lockdown, we have been able to draw on the experience of providing shoppers with the services they need under safe measures.

“This ‘real life’ experience has helped to shape our planning, plus we have also used an independent surveyor to support the planning process to ensure we can safely deliver and implement our plan for social distancing.”

Preparing Queensgate for the new normal looks to have been a leviathan task.

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It has involved the installation of about 3,000 pieces of signage and floor markers, including two-metre markers, in the mall and its non-public areas, throughout Westgate Arcade as well as in the bus station and car parks.

New signage at Queensgate shopping centre.New signage at Queensgate shopping centre.
New signage at Queensgate shopping centre.

A ‘keep left’ system with cross over areas has been clearly outlined on the mall to ensure shoppers have plenty of space in the centre.

Social distance signs have also been placed on escalators and in lifts.

Hand sanitisers have been sited at all entry and exit points and at some touch points throughout the centre.

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And all staff, including security and housekeeping, will be required to wear face masks and gloves at all times.

Signs will ask shoppers to show consideration for others.Signs will ask shoppers to show consideration for others.
Signs will ask shoppers to show consideration for others.

But the centre is confident of a good reponse from customers despite the current health scare.

Mr Broadhead said: “We have seen the demand for retail as sectors, such as DIY/garden centres, have opened and we have been keeping an eye on the situation in Germany and France when they have relaxed the situation in shopping centres. There the trend has been steady, with footfall and confidence in the public growing and adapting with the new measures businesses such as ours have taken.

“Our objective is to deliver an environment to the highest standard possible and in line with government guidelines, whilst learning and continually reviewing our position and processes regularly to keep those standards high.”

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