// New West End Company announces preparations for reopening
// Plans include safely reopening district for residents & returning workers after deep clean and social distancing measures
// Guidance includes flexible opening hours between 11am-7pm & holding back on discount sales to regulate footfall
Retailers and other businesses across London’s West End have today received preparation plans for a phased, safe and sustainable reopening of the world-famous shopping district.
The guidelines, designed to complement the latest government advice, have been assembled by the New West End Company, which represents over 600 retail and leisure businesses in the district.
The guidelines also have input from hundreds of UK and overseas organisations and prioritises the safety for the more than 150,000 people living and working in and around the West End.
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“Our priority is a safe reopening of the West End, and we continue to work collaboratively with West End businesses and local authorities to put in place clear operational and logistical plans to get back to work safely,” New West End Company chief executive Jace Tyrrell said.
“Having acted early to protect public health, it is right that we set an example for the nation’s high streets in helping communities rebuild confidence in spending time together outside.”
New West End Company said it was working closely with Transport for London and Westminster City Council to effectively manage foot traffic.
Footpaths across Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street will be provided with clear markings to help visitors observe social distancing, while store visitor numbers will be closely managed with clearly marked waiting areas to the left of retailer entrances to avoid long queues.
As business operating restrictions lift, retailers have been advised to respect responsible promotional strategies, with discounting and sales kept online to avoid long queues and crowding.
Restrictions on air travel are expected to see reduced numbers of international visitors and London residents are encouraged to walk or cycle to rediscover the district, with the planned provision of additional bicycle parking and dedicated walking routes from key London hubs.
The guidance also sets out clear best practice guidelines for employers to follow in keeping their teams safe in the workplace.
They outline new rules in place around the acceptance of payments, rules around hygiene and protective uniform best practice, as well as the safest ways to travel to and from work.
New West End Company is also seeking to work with wellbeing charities to help businesses work together to share spaces and provide quiet, less crowded spaces in which workers can take their breaks and lunch hours.