Open for business
Warrington town centre and our other shopping districts are open for business.
We’re working with our partners and businesses to make it as secure as possible for all workers, shoppers and visitors.
Warrington is subject to the national coronavirus restrictions - stay safe, stay local. More information can be viewed on our coronavirus restrictions page.
Find out more about the current restrictions, view advice about how to make your business COVID-secure, and report cases of coronavirus in your organisation.
Your safety comes first
It’s important at all times to follow the national guidance, alongside any additional local restrictions. Keep the two metre distance from people outside your household, maintain excellent hand/personal hygiene, and please wear a face covering if you are in an indoor public place, or on public transport.
Social distancing signage
You will also see a range of signage to help you navigate through the town centre. This includes signage of a one-way route, and reminders to ‘stay left, stay safe’, which everyone should follow.
These signs are particularly prominent in Golden Square Shopping Centre, where a great deal of work has taken place to make the shopping centre as safe as possible. There will also be separate queuing arrangements for some shops.
Be patient - and think of others
Please be patient and respect the rules. You might have no problem getting around the town centre, but there may be people who won't have ventured out in a long time and will be nervous about doing so. You can play your part by being patient and keeping your distance. Not everyone will be moving forward at the same time, so when some of our more vulnerable people venture out, please be considerate.
Safer shopping - FAQs
Why is a pedestrian one-way system needed?
Our town centre, like many other shopping districts across the country, weren’t designed for social distancing. As you’ll have seen in supermarkets, non-essential stores will be placing limits on the number of customers allowed on their premises at any one time in order to allow for social distancing.
When we have looked at the available ‘high street’ space at our town and district centres, there is not enough room to for people to safely queue while also maintaining the two metre distance between two directions of pedestrian walkway.
In order to allow for safe, sensible queuing areas, it has been necessary to put in place a one-way system.
How will you enforce the pedestrian one-ways?
We won’t be policing the one-way system but ask all shoppers to be mindful and observant of the rules. It will help to keep you, and your fellow shoppers, as safe as possible.
We are also mindful however that there will be some shoppers with access needs, such as sight or mobility impairments, who may not be able to adhere to the one-way routes. We also ask our shoppers to be patient and supportive of people.
Where and how should I cross between one-way routes?
In the town centre and other shopping districts, the middle of the street can be used to turn around as long as there is sufficient room to maintain social distancing with any queues that may be in place. If there is significant queueing and you cannot find room to turn around, you should walk further until there is a suitable gap to cross the centre and re-join the opposite one way.
The system will not be perfect and will require a degree of common sense and patience.
In district centres, residents will need to use existing designated crossing points to re-join one-ways in the opposite direction if crossing.
How do you know a one-way system will work?
One-way systems at supermarkets, for example, can be time consuming to follow when purchasing a large amount of items, we think it is reasonable to expect shoppers to plan their walk through our town and district centres, and see there being limited need for people to 'double back' if they have forgotten something, or want to revisit a shop.
We think in practice, following a one-way system will not add a great deal of time getting from shop to shop.
What about people with disabilities or access needs?
We don’t expect everyone to be able to follow the one-way system – there will be residents who, for one reason or another, cannot reasonably be expected to be in the right place all the time. Residents who can reasonably follow the system should do.
We don’t want or expect residents to quiz or challenge other town or district centre users for this very reason – there will be a wide range of often hidden disabilities that will prevent some residents from being able to follow the one-way. Please be respectful of others and don’t jump to conclusions about why someone may not be following the one-way or queuing systems.
We will investigate ways we can use assistive measures to help improve this situation for those who have difficulty navigating a wholly visual sign-based system.
In partnership with Warrington Speak Up, we have developed the 2 Steps scheme to encourage kindness and understanding for those who may find it difficult to follow social distancing rules due to having additional needs or disabilities. People with additional needs or hidden disabilities can choose to wear a 2 Steps wristband to show they may need some additional help or consideration from others.
How will you deal with queues in high street areas?
There are designated queuing areas for the vast majority of shops in the town centre. This involves floor signage in public areas to support businesses to queue their customers outside of their premises. The purpose of this approach is to help ensure a clear, clean look across town and district centres, rather than having a large mix of different queuing signs and systems that would quickly get out of hand.
What about district centres with very limited pavement space, such as Lymm or Stockton Heath?
We are at an advanced stage of planning to increase the width of footpaths in high footfall areas, to avoid ‘pinch-points’ where this would prevent social distancing being maintained.
Eating and drinking in Warrington
Under the current national restrictions, hospitality businesses and venues are only able to offer outdoor only, takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
What can you expect?
Businesses are keen to continue to provide their customers with a great offer, but things will be different than we are all used to. Businesses will also be working to ensure that their staff are working in a safe and secure way.
In order to maintain appropriate social distancing, businesses may be operating their reduced services with less staff to allow for safe social distancing. Please be patient and follow the processes they have in place.
When collecting orders for takeaway, you may notice increased use of ventilation, such as windows being left open, hand sanitser stations and possibly queuing, or ‘one in one out’ systems.
Staff may be wearing PPE such as masks or visors. You must wear a face covering inside the premises.
What do I need to do?
Stay safe, stay local. If you have any of the following coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate and book an NHS (PCR) test:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Please take steps to protect yourself by regularly washing your hands and by avoiding touching your face. When you do leave home, maintain a safe distance from others and wear a face covering.
Please follow any guidance, signage or markings provided and remember that venues will be operating in a different way with potentially less staff on duty, so please remain courteous and polite.
Travelling to and from town
If you need to travel you should stay local and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.
It is important that you follow the government advice on safer travel and walk or cycle where possible. Plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practice social distancing while you travel.
Please remember to wear a face covering on public transport and in public spaces.
It’s important to understand that businesses will still be adapting their procedures as we all get used to the new arrangements.
If, however, you have any concerns about whether a business is operating in a COVID-secure way, please report it to us.
Travelling in Warrington
People coming into the town centre and other shopping districts will have seen that a number of changes were made in the summer to improve safety and accessibility. These included highways improvements, increased support for cyclists and pedestrians, and new safety signage to keep people safe as they move around the town centre.
We have been making changes to our footways and cyclepaths to help ensure residents are able to socially distance while they’re out and about, whether as a pedestrian or cyclist. This includes measures on the roads as well as in parks and on greenway routes.
We also installed measures to reduce through traffic within the town centre, creating a better environment for cyclists and pedestrians coming into and out of the town centre. These measures included the introduction of some one-way roads, changing some routes to prioritise cyclists, and installing temporary signage for traffic to improve safety.
There has been a surge in people walking and cycling during the coronavirus pandemic, and especially during the first lockdown. As a consequence we want to support this positive move towards active travel as it has so many personal benefits in terms of physical and mental health.
All bus operators, including Warrington’s Own Buses, are supporting safe, socially-distanced travel through on-board capacity limits, screens and sanitisers, and personal protective equipment. Face coverings must be worn by all people travelling and customers are asked to use contactless payment where possible, or use the exact change for the fare.
We are working with schools, bus operators and other partners to support parents and pupils travelling to school. We've accessed additional funding from the government to survey every school location to assist school plans to help ensure social distancing. Prioritised measures are now being developed to help schools and families continue to make use of public transport services safely. And in turn, encouraging more active travel to school.
A programme called 'School Streets' is also being developed. This programme will encourage schools to find volunteers to help restrict car parking on the streets outside school entrances at both opening and closing times. Restricting car access will make active travel, to and from school, safer.
Social distancing or COVID safety concerns in a business environment?
If you’re concerned that a local business isn’t following the social distancing or COVID safety guidance, you can contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about this by calling 0300 790 6787 or highlight it to the HSE online.