The Government will allow ‘non-essential’ shops to reopen in two weeks’ time provided they can ensure social distancing and the safety of shop staff and customers.
Although hospitality retailers like pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will have to wait until at least July 4, a host of other stores are expected to reopen.
A spokesperson for Vicar Lane said: “The team at Vicar Lane are working behind the scenes to prepare the shopping centre for reopening on June 15 in line with Government advice.”
Since the lockdown was announced on March 23, only Iceland, Holland and Barrett, Superdrug and Yorkshire Bank have continued to trade at Vicar Lane, according to the centre’s website.
But now a number of other stores are preparing to reopen their doors to the public, following an easing of restrictions.
Elsewhere in the town centre, other non-essential shops are beginning to start trading again – but shoppers are being warned to expect ‘a new normal’ when they visit high streets.
Signs will be visible to advise shoppers where to queue outside individual shops and when the number of people who can enter premises at the same time is limited.
There will also be signs in other areas such as Chesterfield Borough Council car parks and green spaces reminding people to follow social distancing guidelines.
Councillor Kate Sarvent, cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said the number one priority was to ensure that the town centre ‘is as safe as possible for everyone’.
“Whilst we are still awaiting further government guidance about the relaxation of lockdown measures, the council is committed to supporting local retailers and market traders to return to the high street,” she added.
A report earlier in the crisis suggested Chesterfield could prove more resilient than other town centres during the coronavirus lockdown and recover quicker from the pandemic.
The Local Data Company’s study, ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on UK Town and City Centres’, suggests Chesterfield is better placed than many other towns because it is less relaint on leisure outlets.