Open for business
Warrington town centre and our other shopping districts have reopened for business – and we’re working with our partners and businesses to make it as secure as possible for all workers, shoppers and visitors.
We have been working alongside our Business Improvement District (BID), Golden Square Shopping Centre, Warrington's Own Buses, Warrington Disability Partnership and Cheshire Police, to help the town centre get back to business. If you visit the town centre, you’ll see a number of changes have been put in place to improve your safety.
Restrictions in Warrington
The government has announced that there will be additional restrictions for Warrington from Tuesday 22 September.
Find out more about these restrictions, view advice about how to make your business COVID secure, and report cases of coronavirus in your organisation.
Your safety comes first
It’s important at all times to follow the national guidance. Keep the two metre distance from people outside your household, keep excellent hand/ personal hygiene and wear a cloth face covering if you can’t guarantee that you will be able to maintain social distancing.
Social distancing signage
You will also see a range of new signage to help you navigate through the town centre. This includes signage of a one-way route, and reminders to ‘stay left, stay safe’ and continue to follow the social distancing guidance.
They are particularly prominent in Golden Square, where a great deal of work has taken place to make the shopping centre as safe as possible.
There will also be separate queuing arrangements for some shops.
Be patient - and think of others
Please be patient and respect the new rules. You might have no problem getting around the town centre, but there will be many people who won't have ventured out in a long time and will be nervous about doing so. You can play your part by being patient and keeping your distance. Not everyone will be moving forward at the same time, so when some of our more vulnerable people start to venture out, please be considerate.
Safer shopping - FAQs
Why is a pedestrian one-way system needed?
Our town centre, like many other shopping districts across the country, weren’t designed for social distancing. As you’ll have seen with our supermarkets, non-essential stores will be placing limits on the number of customers allowed on their premises at any one time in order to allow for social distancing.
When we have looked at the available ‘high street’ space at our town and district centres, there is not enough room to safely queue people whilst also maintaining the 2m distance between two directions of pedestrian walkway.
In order to allow for safe, sensible queuing areas, it has been necessary to put in place a one-way system.
How will you enforce the pedestrian one-ways?
We won’t be policing the one-way system but ask all shoppers to be mindful and observant of the rules. It will help to keep you, and your fellow shoppers, as safe as possible.
We are also mindful however that there will be some shoppers with access needs, such as sight or mobility impairments, that may not be able to adhere to the one-way routes. We also ask our shoppers to be patient and supportive of people.
Where and how should I cross between one-way routes?
In the town centre and other shopping districts, the middle of the street can be used to turn around as long as there is sufficient room to maintain social distancing with any queues that may be in place. If there is significant queueing and you cannot find room to turn around, you should walk further until there is a suitable gap to cross the centre of the street and re-join the opposite one way.
The system will not be perfect from day one and will require a degree of common sense and patience.
In district centres, residents will need to use existing designated crossing points to re-join one-ways in the opposite direction if crossing.
How do you know a one-way system will work?
One-way systems at supermarkets, for example, can be time consuming to follow when purchasing a large amount of items, we think it is reasonable to expect shoppers to plan their walk through our town and district centres and see there being limited need for people to “double back” if they have forgotten something or want to revisit a shop.
We think in practice following a one-way system will not add a great deal of time getting from shop to shop.
What about people with disabilities or access needs?
We don’t expect everyone to be able to follow the one-way system – there will be residents who, for one reason or another, cannot reasonably be expected to be in the right place. Residents who can reasonably follow the system should.
We don’t want or expect residents to quiz or challenge other town or district centre users for this very reason – there will be a wide range of often hidden disabilities that will prevent some residents from being able to follow the one-way. Please be respectful of others and don’t jump to conclusions about why someone may not be following the one-way or queueing systems.
We will investigate ways we can use assistive measures to help improve this situation for those who have difficulty navigating a wholly visual sign-based system.
How will you deal with queues in high street areas?
We will be rolling out designated queueing areas for the vast majority of shops ahead of non-essential trade resuming. This will involve floor signage being placed in public areas to support businesses to queue their customers outside of their premises. The purpose of this approach is to help ensure a clear, clean look across town and district centres, rather than having a large mix of different queueing signs and systems that would quickly get out of hand.
What about district centres with very limited pavement space, such as Lymm?
We are at an advanced stage of planning to increase the width of footpaths in high footfall areas, to avoid ‘pinch-points’ where this would prevent social distancing being maintained.
Eating and drinking in Warrington
As Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and hospitality businesses are slowly beginning to reopen from Saturday 4 July. We have provided some guidelines to help you feel safer and to let you know what changes to expect when visiting with friends and family.
Warrington Borough Council has been supporting food and drink businesses with information which will help them to prepare a safer environment for customers and staff.
Before opening, every food and drink businesses must have carried out a risk assessment to ensure that they can open in a Covid secure way. This means that some venues such as nightclubs will not be able to open at this time and others will be operating in a different way. This will vary for each business. The Government has published guidance to help businesses to decide on whether they can open and how to do this safely.
What can you expect?
Businesses will be keen to provide their customers with a great new offer but things maybe slightly different than we are all used to. Businesses will also be working to ensure that their staff can return to work in a safe and secure way.
In order to maintain appropriate social distancing, venues may have reduced their capacity and introduced queueing or appointment systems.
Tables and chairs may also be arranged differently with greater use of back to back seating or increased spacing.
Table service is encouraged and you may be asked to order and pay at the table and to avoid using the counter or the bar wherever possible. Some venues may not take cash payments and others may have introduced apps for ordering drinks and food.
You may also see disposable menus or use of wipe boards. Additional measures, may also include disposable condiments and greater use of physical screens.
You can expect to see increased cleaning of key touch points, such as tables and counters. Fresh, clean cutlery should be provided for each customer.
Toilets will be cleaned more often, there will be increased use of ventilation, sanitiser stations and possibly queuing, or ‘one in one out’ systems.
Businesses have also been advised not to have live entertainment at this time and music should be at ambient levels to avoid the need for voices to be raised. People should remain seated where possible.
You may be asked for your name and some form of contact details. These will kept for up to 21 days for track and trace purposes.
Staff may be wearing PPE such as masks. This is not compulsory.
What you need to do
In order to keep people safe you must stay at home and arrange for a test if you suspect that you have any of the following symptoms or you feel unwell:-
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Please take steps to protect yourself by regularly cleaning your hands and by avoiding touching your face.
Many places are only taking advance bookings, so check in advance before you set off. Other venues will be operating on a first come, first served queuing system. Some venues will also be operating restricted opening times.
Please follow any guidance, signage or markings provided and remember that venues will be operating in a new way with potentially less staff on duty; so please remain courteous and polite.
Some venues will be making greater use of outdoor seating and they may allow you to take your drinks outside. Others will be operating takeaway only services. It is important that you avoid gathering in groups, maintain social distancing and follow the Government advice. Venues may also provide plastic glasses or toughen glass for use outside.
If additional seating has been provided please use the area responsibly and respect staff when they need to remove the furniture; so that it can be safely removed and stored in accordance with their licence. If the weather becomes inclement, it may also not be possible for you to re-enter the premises, in order that they can maintain safe occupancy levels inside.
As premises make greater use of outdoor space and keep windows and doors open to improve ventilation and reduce touch points; it is important that you respect the amenity of nearby residents and keep noise to acceptable levels.
Most of all, please enjoy yourselves and stay safe!
Travelling to and from town
It is important that you follow the Government advice on safer travel.
Taxi marshals will be available in the town centre and Stockton Heath at peak times.
The police will also be maintaining a presence for your safety.
We hope that you have a great night out. It’s important to understand that businesses will still be learning and adapting their procedures, as we all get used to the new arrangements.
If, however, you have any concerns about whether a business is operating in a Covid secure way; then these can be reported to the council.
Travelling in the town
People coming into the town centre and other shopping districts will see that a number of changes have been made to improve safety. These include highways improvements, increased support for cyclists and pedestrians and new safety signage to keep people safe as they move around the town centre.
Footways and cycle paths
We’ll be making changes to our footways and cyclepaths to help ensure residents are able to socially distance while they’re out and about, whether as a pedestrian or cyclist.
The council has created more space for cyclists and pedestrians coming into and out of the town centre, with the introduction of some one-way roads, changing some routes to prioritise cyclists, and installing temporary signage for traffic to improve safety.
There has been a surge in people cycling during the coronavirus pandemic and the council wants to support the continuation of the move towards active travel.
All bus operators, including Warrington’s Own Buses, are supporting safe, socially-distanced travel through on-board capacity limits of 25%, screens and sanitisers and personal protective equipment. Face coverings must be worn by all people travelling and customers are asked to use contactless payment where possible, or using the exact change for the fare.
Social distancing or COVID safety concerns in a business environment?
If you’re concerned that a local business isn’t following the social distancing or COVID safety guidance, you can contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about this by calling 0300 790 6787 or highlight it to the HSE online.