Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent is one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK, and every year the start of the festive season is signalled by the arrival of Bluewater’s famous lights and reindeer. However in recent weeks non-essential shops have been closed in Bluewater in line with the national lockdown guidance, and only essential stores and takeaway services have been open in the centre.
The national lockdown will end on Wednesday, December 2, however from this date a regional tiered lockdown system will be in place.
The Prime Minister announced “more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher levels than before” as restrictions have been tightened compared to the previous three-tier system.
Many regions, including parts of the North East, North West, the Midlands and Kent, will be under the new Tier 3 restrictions from December 2.
Tier 3, or Very High alert level, is the highest of the Government’s new three-tier system, and the tier entails a number of restrictions.
Non-essential shops will be able to reopen across England from December 2, including in Tier 3 areas.
However, even though shopping centres will be allowed to reopen, a number of restrictions remain in place for these settings.
In Tier 3 areas, people cannot meet indoors or in most outdoor places with people they do not live with or people not in their support bubble.
This requirement means people cannot meet with members outside their household in settings such as shopping centres.
“If you’re planning to visit us, please check your local tier restrictions, and bear in mind our quieter times.
“We find that Bluewater is quietest Monday to Thursday.”
Bluewater’s non-essential stores will be reopening from December 2, but restaurants and cafes will remain closed for now.
Takeaway services for food and drink outlets will remain open, but cinemas will stay shut.
The Bluewater website has details of the safety measures in place at the centre in light of COVID-19, which you can read HERE.
Further details on opening hours can also be found on the Bluewater website.
The shopping centre has introduced one-way signage as well as sanitiser stations, and Bluewater is also limiting capacity to help keep shoppers safe.
Customers are also being asked to follow the Government guidance on the use of face coverings, and pay by card if possible when making a purchase.
Although Christmas shopping may look a little bit different this year, Bluewater will still be embracing the festivities in 2020.
Christmas preparations have been underway at the centre, and when non-essential shops reopen customers will be able to visit the centre’s Giving Tree.
The Giving Tree will be outside M&S on the upper mall, and customers can donate a gift to a local disadvantaged child this Christmas.