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.
Four of our destinations in France have reopened and the remaining two flagship destinations in Paris (Les 3 Fontaines and O’Parinor) will open on 2 June. Following the latest advice from the UK Government, our destinations in England will re-open from 15 June. Our centres in Scotland remain closed with the exception of essential businesses such as food stores, pharmacies, and banks. In Ireland, in line with the latest Government guidance stores with external entrances will reopen in June whilst internal areas are not expected to reopen until August.
The majority of outlets across the VIA and Value Retail premium outlets portfolios have 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.