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Dropping into town for a spot of retail therapy might feel like the stuff of fairy tales after over 80 days of lockdown in England. All non-essential shops have been closed across Newcastle and Gateshead in line with the UK government's coronavirus lockdown guidelines to protect us from the spread of Covid-19. However, we’re starting to see restrictions lift and from 15 June, some of your favourite shops in NewcastleGateshead selling 'non-essential' items (like clothes, toys, homewear and electricals) will be ready to reopen safely for shoppers to visit once again.

Read on for our guide to how to shop safely and maintain social distancing in NewcastleGateshead.

Which shops have reopened in NewcastleGateshead?

Many shops will be testing the water and may understandably need longer to work out how they can reopen and still ensure a safe shopping experience for both customers and staff.

However, the first shops to open in NewcastleGateshead are Fenwick Newcastle - a historic staple in the Newcastle shopping scene – which will reopen from Monday 15 June with adjustments to how it operates. Popular shopping centres intu Eldon Square in Newcastle city centre and intu Metrocentre in Gateshead have safely reopened with an increased number of their shops and traders now open for business. Grainger Market, the city's indoor market, which has been running a delivery service during the lockdown, is also open for shoppers to drop in.

What safety measures are in place around social distanced shopping?

If you decide to start shopping in Newcastle city centre, rest assured that organisations like Newcastle City Council, Northumbria Police, NE1 and the NHS Trust have been working closely to ensure that the city is a safe and welcoming place for people.

Shoppers in Newcastle will notice:

  • A new one-way pedestrian system around the city, particularly along major high streets like Northumberland Street to help visitors practice social distancing and move around the city. You will need to walk up one side of the street and down the other.
  • Don’t worry - cones, tape and new vinyl markings will be in place to help signpost the walking routes and indicate 2m distances as well as queuing areas.
  • Helpful ‘City Hosts’ will be on hand around Newcastle city centre in the first few weeks to help you navigate the new walking systems and answer any questions you might have.
  • A queuing system will be in place outside shops to help monitor how many people are allowed into shops and stagger business.
  • Shops and businesses will undoubtedly be different from before the lockdown and may not have all areas open or request you follow a one-way system within the shop as well as limiting the number of visitors allowed inside the shop at one time.
  • Screens at tills and service points.
  • Shops will be encouraging contactless payment to help limit the spread of covid-19.
  • You are encouraged to shop alone which will help with social distancing and managing crowds.

Things to consider before you visit NewcastleGateshead to shop

  • It’s advised to wear a face covering inside buildings and it’s essential to do so on public transport.
  • Limit your use of public transport, especially during busy and peak periods.
  • Shop opening hours may have changed so we recommend checking before you travel.
  • Try to avoid arriving at the beginning of the day and busy periods to avoid unnecessary queuing before a shop opens. 
  • Ensure you continue to regularly wash your hands and use hand sanitiser where washing isn’t possible.
  • Please don’t leave the house if you have coronavirus symptoms or suspect you have coronavirus.
  • Due to the limited re-opening of shops, restaurants and cafes there are currently very few toilets available in the City Centre so please make sure you go before you go out!
  • Expect to queue - so be patient! 

It’s great to see Newcastle and Gateshead begin to reopen and we hope you are safe and well too. We will be updating our website with information and updates as details change and more shops reopen. Take care.

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