COVID FAQs Answering your questions

Covid FAQs

Is the centre open from Monday 17th May following the Government's latest easing of restrictions?

Following the latest Government guidance, we can confirm that from Monday 17th May, Metrocentre will be open for non-essential shopping, indoor dining and leisure entertainment. We recommend that you contact the retailer directly before setting off.

For further information, please check the Latest Centre Update.

What are your opening hours?

From 17th May, Metrocentre's opening hours will be 9am - 9pm on Monday to Friday, 9am – 7pm on Saturday and 11am - 5pm on Sunday. Some retailers might have slightly reduced, or extended hours, and this can change at short notice. Therefore,, please check in advance if you are visiting for a particular store before you set off. We recommend that you contact the retailer directly before setting off.

What do I need to differently to follow the new restrictions?

As we are an indoor shopping centre, please only visit the centre in a group of 6 people or a larger group from two households, or whom you are in a support bubble with. To keep everyone safe, visitors must also wear a face covering when in the centre unless exempt, keep to the left and adhere to 2 metres social distance. Our teams have been briefed on the new guidance and we’ll be reminding everyone to keep a safe distance.

What about the food places? Are they open for business?

As per the Government’s guidelines, from Monday 17th May, indoor dining can reopen. We suggest that visitors check the relevant brands websites in advance of visiting to check what their opening hours are and what services are available at this current time. If you would like to consume food outdoors, there are picnic tables and benches located outside green mall, red mall, and yellow mall.

Is it still safe for me to visit the centre now that the restrictions are in place?

As a centre, we are doing everything we can to make sure we continue to be a safe place to visit and work. Our teams have been briefed on the new guidance and will be reminding people to keep a safe distance, as well as reminders on signage, floor stickers, digital screens, tannoy announcement, website, social media and our email newsletters. We are also continuing to deep clean key touchpoints such as entrances, malls, elevators, escalators, toilet facilities, and doors on a regular basis, which will continue for the foreseeable future.

As a reminder, visitors must also wear a face covering when visiting the centre unless exempt. We are asking everyone to play their part too and help us defeat the virus by following the guidelines.

Please self-isolate at home if you are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms or awaiting for COVID-19 test results. You will find more information on the Gateshead Council website.

Do I need to wear a face mask/face covering?

Yes. You must wear a face covering in the shopping centre. Our teams will be asking anyone without one to either put one on or leave the centre. Naturally, anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from covering their face will be exempt, as will children under the age of 11. Please help us to keep everyone safe. Please be kind to our teams who are simply doing their jobs by reminding visitors to wear a face covering.

What kind of face covering do I need to wear?

A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

Can I wear a visor instead of a face covering?

No. Visors are not face coverings and serve a very different purpose. You can wear a visor with a face covering, but not as an alternative to face coverings.

Will you allow people to come into the centre if they don’t have a face covering?

No, unfortunately not. We are following the Government’s guidance and only allowing people to enter the shopping centre if they are wearing a face covering. Our teams will be asking anyone not wearing a face covering to either put one on or leave the centre. Please help us to keep everyone safe.

I have a health condition/hidden disability- do I need to wear a face mask/face covering?

As per Government guidelines, you do not need to wear a face covering if you have certain health conditions.

Do I need to bring evidence of my health condition if I have a face covering? e.g. letter from doctor

No. We will not be asking for evidence of your health condition before entering. We do ask however that you just let our friendly staff know that you are exempt on medical grounds, so they do not refuse you access.

Will you supply a face covering for visitors if they need one?

Unfortunately, we will not be supplying face coverings to our visitors.

People are clearly ignoring your instructions; this isn't good enough. What are you going to do?

Members of our staff will be on hand to support our visitors during their time in the centre. Our teams will be asking anyone not wearing a face covering to either put one on or leave the centre. Please help us to keep everyone safe. Also, please also be kind to our teams who are simply doing their jobs by reminding visitors to wear a face covering. If they feel that anyone is breaking the Government’s rules, we will address this with them.

How will you enforce this?

We are doing everything we can to keep people safe. However, our staff have little to no power to enforce the wearing of face coverings. If we feel that people are deliberately risking the safety of those around them or are being abusive to our teams or other visitors, then we will call the police.

Surely, I could just pretend to have a medical condition?

Yes, you could, however, we’re asking everyone to do their part in helping to defeat the virus by following the instructions provided by our teams and the safety information that is widely available. If we feel that people are deliberately risking the safety of those around them or are abusive towards our teams or other visitors, then we won’t hesitate in calling the police.

It feels like there are more people in the centre than last week?

We continually monitor the number of people in the centre at any one time, and we are well within those limits.

Are you supplying your staff with face coverings?

Yes, all our teams have already been issued with face covering.

I work in one of your stores, do I need to wear a face covering?

Yes. Everyone who enters and walks around the mall must always wear a face covering, whether that’s for shopping or to get to your place of work. Since it was announced by the Government on 24th September 2020, all retail staff, as well as visitors, must also wear a face covering whilst working. Please speak with your store manager if you have any concerns about this.

What about the retail kiosks, will people running those need to wear face coverings?

Yes, they will. All retail staff must wear a face covering.

What will you do if your retailers don’t comply?

We have good relationships with all our retailer staff, and we do not believe this will be an issue. However, it is ultimately up to the individual brands to follow comply with the legislation set out by the Government.

I saw people without face coverings in your centre, what are you doing about this?

Throughout the pandemic, we have been and will continue to do everything we can to make sure Metrocentre is a safe place to visit and work. That includes following the advice and guidance from Public Health England and the Government.

Our teams will be asking anyone not wearing a face mask to either put one on or leave the centre, unless they are exempt. Please help us to keep everyone safe.

How is Metrocentre going to keep customers safe?

We are doing everything we can to make sure our centre is a safe place to visit and work. We have social distancing measures throughout the centre, including our car parks, entrances, malls, toilets, facilities and services, and back of house areas.

Hand sanitiser will be available throughout our centres and at the entrances, for use as people come inside and through their visit with us. Soap and hot water are also available in our toilet facilities and we ask that people wash their hands regularly.

Our teams have been briefed on the new guidance and will be reminding people to keep a safe distance, as well as reminders on signage, floor stickers, digital screens, tannoy announcement, website, social media and our email newsletters. We are also continuing to deep clean key touchpoints such as entrances, malls, elevators, escalators, toilet facilities, and doors on a regular basis, which will continue for the foreseeable future.

We are asking everyone to play their part too and help us defeat the virus by following the instructions provided by our teams and the safety information that is widely available in centre and on our online channels.

As a reminder, please self-isolate at home and do not visit the centre if you are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms or awaiting for COVID-19 test results.

How clean is Metrocentre given you’ve been partially closed for a while?

Our staff have been working incredibly hard to keep our centre clean and safe during the lockdown and we are hugely grateful to them. We were already deep cleaning key touchpoints like toilets and door handles more frequently and that will continue for the foreseeable future. Further safeguards like hand sanitisers, gels and wipes will still be available in the malls and there will be dedicated hand sanitiser stations on the way into our centres too which we ask everyone to use on the way in.

We are asking everyone to play their part too and help us defeat the virus by following the instructions provided by our teams and the safety information that is widely available in centres and on our online channels.

How many cars are going to be allowed to park at the centre?

We will be limiting the number of cars able to visit to ensure visitors can abide to social distance guidelines in the car parks and throughout the centre. This will be based on the maximum capacity.

Are all the shops in your centre going to be open when it re-opens?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for individual stores to re-opening, so we would ask visitors to check their favourite brands websites before leaving home.

Are you going to be giving visitors a time limit to be in the centre?

No. However, we will be managing the capacity (the number of visitors inside our centres) and we have controls in place at entrance and exit points to help us do that effectively. Visitors can still very much expect our usual, warm welcome, but it’s important to monitor capacity very carefully and stay within the recommended limits. Queuing systems outside centre entrances to regulate footfall may be likely.

Are you implementing a rule of one customer per family or can we visit as a family? Can I bring my kids with me?

Government guidance says that where possible customers should shop alone, unless they need specific assistance. If you are planning to bring your children with you, please make sure that they also follow the social distancing guidelines. The number of people allowed into centre will also depend on the current capacity of the centre at any given time to allow for social distancing, so where possible, try to limit the numbers in your group. Visitors can still very much expect our usual, warm welcome, but it’s important to monitor capacity very carefully and stay within the recommended limits. It is possible therefore that we may have a queuing system outside centre entrances to regulate footfall.

Have Metrocentre staff been specially trained to manage this new way of shopping?

Yes, all staff have been through specific guidance/training to carry out their duties in the new way of working.

What sort of PPE will Metrocentre staff be wearing in the centre?

Face covering and/or face visors will be worn by our waste/environmental teams where appropriate.

Will Metrocentre be providing any type of PPE for visitors, like masks and/or gloves?

No, as this is not a requirement by Government. However, all our visitors are welcome to wear face coverings and gloves whilst in the centres.

What steps will Metrocentre take if people do not observe social distancing guidelines?

We will be asking everyone who visits our centres to follow official guidelines, the instructions provided by our teams as well as the safety information that will be widely visible and available. Our teams are familiar with the guidance and will be reminding people to keep a safe distance. Anyone refusing to do so will be asked to leave the centre immediately.

If we feel that people are deliberately breaking the guidelines and risking the safety of those around them, we won’t hesitate to call the police. At times like these we simply cannot allow the actions of individuals to potentially threaten the safety of everyone else.

Are Metrocentre potentially rushing to open its centre?

No, not at all. We are following the official guidance and the safety of everyone who visits our centres is our highest priority, and we are going to do everything we possibly can to ensure our centre is a safe places to visit and work.

What will you do if one of your retailers doesn’t follow social distancing guidelines?

We have been working closely with all our brand customers during the lockdown period to support them with their re-opening plans.

However, if there were to be an issue, all our brands have a requirement within their lease to provide legal compliance, so we would insist they follow the guidance or further action would/could be taken against them.

What will you do if one of your retailers opens earlier than the government guidelines allows?

We have been working closely with all our brand customers during the lockdown period to support them with their re-opening plans.

However, if there were to be an issue, as per their lease, a retailer must follow legal compliance, we would take the necessary action to ensure our brands comply with Government guidelines.

What will we have in place for visitors with mobility issues who would ordinarily need the use of seating whilst visiting us?

There is seating on the malls for those who need it. Please remain socially distanced while using the seating ensuring that you sit with members of your household or people who you are in a support bubble with. From the Monday 17th May and until further notice, our Shopmobility service and mobility scooter hire is open to existing members only. Once Shopmobility fully re-opens, we will update our website with further information. Wheelchair hire is available to visitors. Please contact us if you have any queries. If you require any assistance during your visit, please approach a member of staff who will be more than happy to help you.

Will Click + Collect be available from the customer services desk?

Unfortunately, Click + Collect services from the customer services desk have been paused during lockdown and will continue to remain unavailable until further notice. We will update our website when the service reopens. However, some retailers may be open for click & collect services only from their own stores. To find out which stores are offering Click & Collect services, please visit our Latest Centre Update page. This list is subject to change at short notice, we suggest that you contact the retailer before setting off on your journey.

Are customer service desks open? What do I do if I need help whilst in Metrocentre?

Our customer services desks in lower green mall and upper platinum mall are open from Monday 17th May for customer queries and gift card sales. Please note that Fun Buggies are not available for hire until further notice. For assistance, please speak to a member of our team during your visit who will be available at the entrances and within the malls.

How do I know which retailers will be open before I visit Metrocentre?

There is no one size fits all approach for when individual stores will open. To find out if a shop you want to visit has re-opened, please check the specific brand’s individual website for more information or contact them directly.

Do you know when other retailers will be opening up and when all of the shops, restaurants and leisure spaces will be back open?

Following the latest Government guidance, from 17th May, indoor dining and leisure entertainment can reopen. Please check with the specific brand’s website for their opening information.

Are you taking specific measures on your air handling units before opening?

Our centre air handling plant has continued to run on a phased/rotation basis providing full fresh air whilst taking advantage of the low external air pollution and air quality which is at its best levels for many years. All air filters will continue to be changed as required with any major service visits being undertaken as necessary. We will continue to follow guidelines and adhere to air handling rules as advised by Government.

Will you be temperature checking people as they come into the centre?

Temperature checking is not part of the Government’s guidelines and isn’t an effective way of screening people for coronavirus. Using surface temperature checks i.e. just on the skin rather than in ear can provide inaccurate results. A surface temperature for example can be caused by other factors not related to the virus. However, please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to make sure our centres as safe places to visit and work.

Some of our brands may be using temperature checks on their entrances, but please speak directly to them for more information.

If you do feel unwell or are showing any of the COVID-19 symptoms or awaiting COVID-19 test results, please self-isolate at home and do not visit the centre. Please help us to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible.

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