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COVID-19: Supporting the safe return of non-essential retail

As the owner of some of the largest, and most popular retail destinations in the UK, we are doing everything we can to support our customers in preparation for non-essential retail being allowed to return, making sure our spaces are safe places to visit and work. On this page you will find information about what we have done already, what we are doing currently, and what we will do next to meet this challenge head on.

Since lockdown began, a specialist task force with some of the best brains in our business has been working together to ensure we have detailed and adaptable plans in place to support the gradual re-opening of non-essential retail.

The experience for everyone who visits one of our centres for the foreseeable future will be very different to normal, as we do everything we can to keep people safe and well.

In our centres - what we've been doing

Our centres sit at the heart of their communities and throughout this pandemic we’ve made sure people can continue to access vital services within them such as pharmacies, supermarkets and banks, in a safe way, in line with Government advice.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak started, we have followed the guidance provided by the Government and Public Health England. Our centres have experience operating in line with social distancing guidelines, and we will continue to follow them, as well as guidance on general hygiene and cleanliness.

Our precautionary measures have been in place since the start, to help manage the risk of infection. These measures include hand sanitiser, gels and wipes being available for all our visitors and staff to use, alongside deep cleaning key areas more regularly.

And as we start to re-open non-essential retail, in line with the Government’s guidance, we will continue to focus our efforts on keeping people as safe as possible and helping everyone adapt to this new way of doing things. We will be there to support our customers every step of the way as we welcome back our visitors as safely as possible.

If you are thinking of coming to visit one of our centres once your favourite store has reopened, then head on over to https://www.intu.co.uk/ where you'll find advice on keeping yourself and those around you safe during your visit, as well as other information like centre opening times.

With our people - what we've been doing

Nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of our people. During lockdown, we’ve had a small but fantastic team on hand at every centre making sure they continue to operate in a safe and secure way. This meant that we had to take the tough decision to furlough over half of our frontline teams as well as a smaller number from our London office, 40 Broadway.

Our teams are important to us, and we know that everyone has enough to deal with without the added worry over losing their wages. So, we’ve made sure that everyone we placed on furlough leave still receives 100% of their salary.

Importantly they’ve remained a key part of the intu family, having regular welfare check-ins, continuing training and development as well as opportunities to continue to socialise with colleagues. Some of our teams have used this time to volunteer within their communities; their contribution is greatly appreciated.

As we re-open non-essential retail, we will be gradually welcoming back our people who have been on furlough leave and supporting them through what we know will be an anxious time for them. Our returning teams are being trained on all our new procedures, being provided with appropriate protective equipment and trained on how to use it, as well as receiving refresher training.

For our communities - what we've been doing

It’s not just keeping our centres running that our frontline teams have been busy with during lockdown. Our teams have been hard at work supporting their local communities at a time when even the smallest act of kindness makes a big difference in bringing people together.

Whether it’s donating clothes and food to homeless charities and foodbanks, giving care packs to frontline workers or Easter eggs to isolated and vulnerable families, our people have been finding ways to spread the joy normally found in our centres, out into the communities around them.

And for those centres which have a paid-for car park, we removed these fees so that anyone who needed to, could park in our centre car parks (excludes intu Chapelfield) for free. This has helped those that needed to pick up essential items and of course our valued key workers too.

We couldn’t be prouder of all the frontline workers who have been helping others. And like many of you, we’ve been clapping for our carers every Thursday, whether from home or at work.

We’ll also continue to offer our support wherever we can, such as donating the land around our centres for COVID-19 testing units as we have done at intu Merry Hill.

For our customers - what we are doing

We are working with our customers to offer support where possible, providing dedicated queuing zones outside of stores where needed, for visitors waiting to shop at their favourite brands.

Where a safe waiting zone can’t be established within the store itself, we will be supporting with an area on the mall including:

  • Clear signage to direct visitors to the start of the queue
  • A reminder on social distancing whilst waiting in the queue
  • Our customer services teams will be roaming the malls, for any visitor queries

We’ll also be there to provide ongoing help and advice and continue to support by offering:

  • Ongoing discussions as we monitor the situation together
  • Troubleshooting support from our technical services teams if things have stood still for a while
  • Cleaning product knowledge and advice from our environmental services teams
  • Help for teams returning to work, both on a personal level and professionally, with all the latest training
  • An extensive supplier list – no matter what the job, we know the right people

We have dedicated specialists at our centres, from operations to marketing, and technical services to health and safety, just at the end of the phone. For more information on what we're doing to support the reopening of non-essential retail, we've prepared a pack, which you can find here.

We've also prepared a list of frequently asked questions which provides more information about what we're doing. For more information, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

For our visitors - what we are doing

The experience for everyone who visits our centres will be very different to normal, this is so we can keep everyone safe and well when they visit us.

We’re limiting the number of visitors inside our centres so that we can make sure people can stick to the social distancing rules. That means that people may have to queue to get in, but we’ll get everyone through as quickly as we can. And once inside, people may have to follow a marked route.

When visiting, people will also see:

  • Hand sanitisation stands, these should be used on entering the centre and as often as necessary when inside
  • Our car parks will be open, but some bays may be out of service as we allow for social distancing
  • Dedicated waiting zones outside some of our stores, as we support our brand customers to maintain social distancing
  • Our teams working hard to clean key touchpoints more frequently and that will continue for the foreseeable future
  • Not all stores will be open, and there will be no one size fits all approach to store openings. We would encourage everyone to check the centre as well as the relevant brand’s website before setting off on their journeys

We've created a video showing the changes people can expect to our centres, so they can prepare for their visit and will know what to expect:

Our teams will be on hand to offer support and guidance every step of the way. Full details of what we're doing can also be found on each of our centre websites, intu.co.uk or in this handy pack we've prepared here.

We've prepared a list of frequently asked questions which provides all the information about what we're doing, and answers questions you might have.

intu is COVID-19 secure

We have followed the Government’s advice throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety of our centres and offices and all those who visit or work there.

intu is COVID-19 secure

We have followed the Government’s advice throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety of our centres and offices and all those who visit or work there.

COVID-19 secure