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How to navigate the new normal when heading to shops

It is great news that high streets, shopping centres and independent retailers across the North East are welcoming back shoppers. Whether you are buying essential supplies or visiting non-essential retail, help protect yourself, fellow shoppers and retail staff from Covid with these helpful tips from Gavin Prior, Centre Director of Metrocentre.

Thank you if you have received the vaccine. Please remember to follow the below guidance, even if you have received both doses, as you could still spread Covid to others without realising you have it.

Do not shop if you:

  • Have Covid symptoms. You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance.
  • Have been told by the NHS Test and Trace service to self-isolate.
  • Are self-isolating as a result of Covid symptoms or are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms.

Tip 1: Shop savvy 

  • Shop early or later in the day.
  • Plan which stores you want to visit.
  • Check the opening hours of specific retailers online before setting off as some may vary.
  • Check store guidelines and procedures online before you visit. There may be some variations between stores.
  • Use a direct route where possible in between stores.
  • Minimise travel where possible.
  • Follow guidance on how to travel on public transport safely.
  • If driving, leave plenty of time to find a car parking space. Check online with your local council or shopping centre before travelling.
  • Treat retail staff with respect.  


Book or eat alfresco

  • Pre-book a time slot or table online, on apps or over the telephone.
  • Order via app if promoted.
  • Enjoy your lunch outside. Especially, if it’s sunny.
  • Outdoor seating at Metrocentre is available outside the Red, Yellow and Green Mall entrances.

Tip 3: Follow floor markings and signage  

  • Follow marked routes around the store or shopping centre. There may be a one-way pedestrian system in place.
  • When in Metrocentre please keep to the left.
  • Expect queuing systems outside shops - please be patient!

Tip 4: Shop alone, not in groups

  • Where possible shop alone. This reduces the number of people in stores, making keeping a two metre distance easier.
  • Only mix in groups of 6 or with 2 households. Stay within your group.
  • Keep 2m from others not in your group wherever possible. Especially when queuing.

General Tips

  • Check in using the NHS COVID-19 app where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters.
  • Pay by contactless, if you can.
  • Minimise close contact with other people, where possible.
  • Only touch surfaces where required. Do not lean on counters.

We will continue to update this information as the situation evolves. Together we can #BeatCovidNE.

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