Shoppers flock to South Shields town centre as businesses reopen for first time since lockdown
Shoppers were quick to visit South Shields town centre and The Nook once again as non-essential stores reopened for the first time since lockdown began.
A number of businesses in the town centre and The Nook opened for business on Monday, June 15, as Government restrictions on such retailers were lifted.
In the run up to opening, the Gazette has been running its #SupportLocal campaign to support traders who have been working hard to ensure they have Covid-19 safety measures in place to protect both staff and customers during the pandemic.
Many of the shops now have one way systems, markings on the floor to separate customers by two metres, as well as hand sanitization stations and plastic screens at till points.
Separate entry and exit points for stores are in place for some of the bigger stores in Waterloo Square, with a number of stores such as Argos and Sports Direct now have staff on the door to monitor the number of customers.
Throughout the day large numbers of shoppers could be seen returning to both the town centre and The Nook to support the shops with their custom.
Northern Threads in South Shields town centre said the response from customers had been encouraging.
Director Phil Goodfellow said: “We'd ask people to shop local and come back to Northern Threads.
“At Northern Threads our customers come first and we want to make sure they feel comfortable and safe.”
Harrison’s Jeweller’s on Station Approach, also had a number of customers through the doors, with many needing watch batteries replaced.
Owner Lorraine Harrison said: “People can still try on the likes of rings as usual, but we are having to disinfect them before and after.
“This is our first day open so we just have to see how it goes."
Meanwhile Wool shop Knit ‘N’ Purl said they had customers waiting outside for them to open.
Owner Jacqueline Brown said: “I have been looking forward to reopening, it is nice to see people again.”
At The Nook independent business owners were delighted to be able to start trading again.
Anthony Hall from Prince Edward Road Carpet and Bed Centre said: “I think everybody is glad to get back to a bit of normality.”
Christine Bonar and Ruth Musleh from Cheekee Cards & Parties at The Nook, were surprised with the number of shoppers on their first day of opening.
Ruth said: “We have feared for the business during lockdown and we don’t think it would have survived without the help of the Government.
“We have had a lot more customers than we had thought.”
Diane Mapplebeck from Kay’s at The Nook said: “We have had a steady stream of customers, all of our regulars have come back.”
Shopper Helen Sanderson, was delighted the shops have reopened. She said. "My stomach was churning this morning as I didn't know what to expect, but it's great to see the shops reopen again now."
Maureen Askey, was also delighted to see the shops open again. She said: "I was a little bit worried coming out, but it’s great to see the shops opening again.”