As a responsible business, we have put in place a series of measures aimed at minimising the impact of the current Coronavirus outbreak on our colleagues, customers, partners and business operations, and preventing, as far as possible, the spread of the virus.
This includes establishing a dedicated working group which reports regularly to the Executive Committee on coordinating our response across our portfolio and how we are caring for our colleagues. We also created a dedicated taskforce to coordinate the re-opening of our destinations, across the portfolio.
We are being led by the latest guidance, advice, and best practice from the Governments and relevant authorities in the regions in which we operate, and are updating our position and policies as soon as any changes occur.
All of our destinations in France and Ireland have now reopened. In Scotland, our two flagships are expected to reopen on 13 July, in line with the latest guidance from the Scottish Government with selected stores with street access having re-opened from 29 June.
In England, all our destinations re-opened on 15 June. All destinations remain open with the exception of Highcross, Leicester, which temporarily closed again following updated Government advice for the city of Leicester on 30 June. A review of the lockdown measures in place in Leicester is due to take place on or around 13 July.
Across the UK, all retail parks have now fully reopened, with only one retail park closed completely during lockdown.
All outlets across the VIA and Value Retail premium outlets portfolios have also reopened, in line with the latest guidance from the respective national Governments.
The health and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers, and partners is our priority, and we are introducing a range of additional safety measures across the portfolio. While the specifics will vary depending on the guidelines in each market, these measures include:
- Clear signage throughout our destinations reminding consumers of the need to follow social distancing guidance, and to avoid shopping in large groups
- Introduction of one-way systems where required
- Installation of hand sanitiser stations
- Enhanced cleaning procedures, and updated processes to ensure cleaning teams are clearly visible to provide reassurance
- Live footfall monitoring to ensure destinations do not exceed revised capacity limits, and the introduction of queuing systems at entrances where required
At our centres that are open, we are currently operating on a split team basis to manage risk. This means that colleagues are divided into two teams, with only one team at the centre at any one time. All head office colleagues in the UK, Ireland, and France are currently working from home.
We continue to assist colleagues who wish to volunteer to find the national and local projects that need their help most. We appreciate that this is a different way of working for our teams and we are hugely grateful for the contribution our colleagues have already made to the business and our communities, in what are extraordinary circumstances.
While our flagship venues in the UK are currently closed apart from these essential businesses, we are offering free car parking to NHS staff, to hopefully make their journey’s to work easier and safer.
In this period of unprecedented disruption, the Board including the Executive Directors decided to take a temporary 20% reduction in pay from the 1st April 2020.
This is an evolving situation, and we will work hard to keep the information on this site as up to date as possible.
Our priority is, and will remain, the health and well-being of our colleagues, customers, and partners, whilst protecting the long-term value of the Company.