Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City have confirmed their robust plans to re-open the London centres safely on Monday 12 April, following the UK government’s announcement that non-essential retail businesses in England can reopen. Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, Europe’s two largest shopping centres, look forward to welcoming back visitors for a safe shopping experience under the second stage of Prime Minister Boris Johnston’s four-step roadmap for lifting lockdown.
Both Westfield centres have robust plans in place that fully integrate all health and safety measures as outlined in the Safer Public Places document published by the Government.
To promote mandatory face coverings, Westfield is launching a Masks for Good campaign to encourage mask wearing for the duration of each visit to Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. Masks for Good kiosks will enable visitors to recycle their single use masks and purchase a fully biodegradable, high-quality reusable mask with all proceeds going to community groups in the local areas of the centres; Jack Tizard School and Caritas Anchor House. The recycled masks will be turned into new items like outdoor furniture, watering cans, storage containers and more. The Masks for Good creative will appear on screens around both centres and can be viewed here.
Other preparations for reopening both retail centres fully include crowd control technology and measures to monitor the number of visitors in and out of the centres. There are also socially distanced queuing systems, manned by trained Westfield UK staff members, with clear floor spacing signage.
Westfield’s UK centres have also introduced cashless and ticketless parking in partnership with HUB Parking Technology. By making car parks cashless and ticketless, this will improve levels of hygiene and remove high-footfall touchpoints to keep guests safe as they return to centres.
Scott Parsons, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s chief operating officer, UK said: “We look forward to safely welcoming our shoppers, retailers, local communities, and employees back to our centres from the 12th of April. Managing the health and safety of our visitors remains our priority, and the sheer scale of our centres puts us in a unique position to go above and beyond government guidelines to give our visitors a and enjoyable experience.
At Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, we remain focused on innovating our centres to create extraordinary places and experiences that influence how people live, work, shop, connect and are entertained. Our recent “How We Shop: What’s Changed” report found that consumers are craving physical experiences now more than ever before with over 52% of consumers expressing that they now crave health services or experiences in a post-pandemic world. Although online shopping has certainly grown during lockdown, now people have the choice again, they will seek out real life experiences and return to stores and the brands they love. At Westfield centres we have continued to rejuvenate and attract new brands, experiences and concepts for all our visitors to enjoy.”
Katie Peake, creative director, Backlash, said: “Our world continues to be torn apart by Covid-19. Local communities and the people who live within them need support. Plus, disposable PPE is becoming a major source of Ocean litter. The Masks for Good campaign was born from Backlash wanting to do our part and provide retailers with a positive message and service around mask wearing to help the UK retail combat the effects of Covid-19. The ready-to-go campaign for businesses creates a positive social movement that aims to turn mask wearing into a force for good. Through the simple purchase of a reusable mask the public will simultaneously be supporting charities in their local community whilst also being kinder to the environment.”
Westfield centres also have some great outdoor social spaces where visitors can relax and socialise in a safe, open and welcoming environment. At Stratford we have The Street and Chestnut Plaza and at Westfield London, The Southern Terrace and Westfield Square. In addition to the various restaurants with terraces, our open spaces will be transformed to host outdoor film clubs, pop-up dining experiences, art installations and family friendly entertainment throughout the year.
The centres will be welcoming a plethora of brands into each space having seen a whole host of recent new openings at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City including Seoul Bird, Club Monaco, Urban Mutts, Polestar, Huawei and the new Apple Click & Collect store. New brands and experiences will be announced over the coming weeks giving out shoppers even more to look forward to.
Across Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, specific measures include:
- Heightened hygiene and deep cleaning of all public spaces and readily available hand sanitisers throughout the centres;
- The ability to manage the number of people entering the centres in a controlled and safely distanced manner using technology such as live footfall cameras, whilst managing the in-centre traffic including one-way systems where required;
- A highly experienced and fully trained Security and Guest Services teams in place to manage queuing systems, as well as direct communications with every single retailer to collaboratively manage flows and numbers;
- Use of indoor and outdoor screens to display key communication messages and floor stickers to demark social distancing spaces;
- Fully frictionless parking in partnership with HUB technology. Cashless and ticketless car parks with social distancing parking as well as large numbers of bike racks and Barclay bike stations are available.