‘We want to start shopping again’ say people in Liverpool
New survey commissioned by Liverpool BID Company reveals majority of people in Liverpool feel safe to return to shops and restaurants as the COVID-19 lockdown ends. Tony McDonough reports
A new survey reveals the majority of people in Liverpool feel confident enough to start shopping and eating in restaurants in the run up to Christmas.
This week the city has come out of the national COVID-19 lockdown and entered Tier 2 restrictions. This means that non-essential shops, as well as restaurants can now reopen. However, pubs and bars that don’t serve meals must remain closed.
Over the spring and summer alone it was estimated Liverpool’s retail and hospitality sectors lost more £1bn in sales due to the first lockdown. Many business are now keen to maximise the opportunity presented by the resumption of trade during December.
Now a new ‘mystery shopper’ survey, carried out by Liverpool BID Company in October, reveals a high level of confidence among people in Liverpool that it is safe to return to shops and restaurants in the city centre. It revealed 90% say were confident returning to a hospitality business and 75% say they feel safe to return to entering shops.
An increased number of people wearing face masks, adhering to guidelines, and the measures stores and restaurants have been put in place make people feel confident about returning to shops and restaurants.
The survey, undertaken by Storecheckers who also conduct mystery shop exercises for Liverpool BID Company at retail, leisure and hospitality business across the city centre, took place before the country was placed in lockdown.
It charts the mood and behaviour among both shoppers, retail and hospitality staff. It also tracks adherence to guidelines by businesses and the impact this has on the confidence of shoppers and visitors.
The study found a high compliance of COVID-safe guidelines across businesses in the city centre, as well as a sense that health and safety concerns were being met. 80% of those visiting said they felt cared for by the health and safety measures in place and would return to Liverpool city centre.
90% said they felt safe and would return to a hospitality business, while 75% said they felt safe and would return to a retail business. These are in line with the national figures.
Wearing face masks has increased across Liverpool among shoppers and visitors. The number of people not wearing face masks decreased from almost a third in September, to just under a tenth in October (32% vs 12%). Wearing face masks is mandatory within retail and hospitality businesses, and it is recommended in busy areas outdoors where social distancing of up to two metres cannot be maintained.
Within businesses, 94% of staff were reported wearing face masks in hospitality businesses, with 84% of staff in retail businesses wearing face masks. A second mystery shop wave of visits will take place during December to further support businesses and reassure people of the covid-safe standards when visiting Liverpool city centre.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, which represents 1,500 city centre businesses, said: “We have seen a high compliance among businesses in meeting and adhering to the Government guidelines.
“This translates into customers feeling safe and confident to return to Liverpool city centre. This exercise has been important as it has allowed us to identify easy to adopt recommendations to help firms reassure customers on the work they are doing to make their businesses COVID-safe.”
Jennina O’Neill, chair of the Retail & Leisure BID, and centre manager at Metquarter, added: “As we enter a truncated festive period these are heartening results showing the vast majority of businesses and shoppers working as hard as they can to keep each other safe.”