Southampton City Council and business leaders in Southampton have issued guidance for members of the public to enjoy safely the hospitality venues and the retail outlets in the city. Southampton has remained in Tier 2 whilst a number of other local authority areas in Hampshire have moved to the highest Covid Risk category. From 00.01 on Saturday 18th December, Portsmouth Gosport and Havant will enter Tier 3.
In a joint statement from Southampton City Council, Southampton Chamber of Commerce, GO! Southampton and Westquay Shopping Centre, visitors to the centre of Southampton are encouraged to follow 3 basic steps for a safe visit in the build-up to Christmas and the New Year:-
- Plan your visit to avoid the busy times – come early or late in the day if you want to avoid the queues
- Wear a mask/face covering, wash your hands, and keep your distance from others
- Remember that you will only be able to eat with members of your household bubble at hospitality venues in the city. You should not eat out with people in your Christmas bubble.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council said, “Christmas can still be special this year, but we’ll need to think of creative but safe ways to enjoy the festive season. The virus won’t be going on a break and will still be a real threat over the holidays. So although the national rules will be relaxed over Christmas, our infection rates are rising and will continue to do so. It’s been a tough old year, but I would urge everyone to be cautious and not take any unnecessary risks. Otherwise, we’ll be storing up a horrible gift for ourselves in January.”
Giles Semper, CEO of GO! Southampton added, ‘The people of Southampton have responded brilliantly to the guidance so far, both for the sake of their own health and for that of others. If we can avoid going into Tier 3 it will be a major ‘win’ for our businesses in leisure and hospitality. If our status can be lowered to Tier 1, that would be even better. So enjoy the city centre, but follow the rules.’
Laura Read, General Manager at Westquay Shopping Centre said “We all know that Christmas this year is going to be different, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be special. As we have all had less time to do our Christmas shopping this year, we expect the centre to be busier during peak times, and we strongly advise you to visit during quieter times when you can. Our Crowd Checker feature on our website provides live information on the best time to visit, to help you plan your trip. Safety remains our priority, and if we all follow the safety guidance and act responsibly, we can still enjoy visiting Westquay.”
Peter Taylor, Chair of the Leadership team of Southampton Chamber of Commerce commented “ The days leading up to and during the Christmas holidays are notoriously busy for the city’s retail and hospitality venues, such is the attraction of Southampton. We want to ensure that people can enjoy the Christmas build-up safely but that we minimise the risk of Southampton facing the restrictions of Tier 3 city as we start 2021”.