Be Smart in Southampton

Be Smart in Southampton

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With many retailers and restaurants now being open, a number of initiatives have been implemented to ensure Southampton city centre is a safe, comfortable place to visit. The city might look a little different but it's still the same at heart. You will find some helpful information and updates to help you have an enjoyable visit.

Please enjoy our city responsibly and help keep you and others safe by following all current Government guidelines.

Be Smart, Stay Apart


Throughout the city centre, you will see floor markers to help you follow social distancing guidelines whilst queuing outside stores. These have been installed for your safety and to help minimise the spread of coronavirus.

You may also notice:

  • Guidance displayed to help you shop safely and responsibly
  • More space for pedestrians and cyclists (e.g. widened footpaths and reduced on-street parking provision in selected areas)
  • Increased secure cycle parking (in progress)

Preparations for the safe reopening of Southampton city centre have been jointly managed by GO! Southampton and Southampton City Council. Similar measures are also being put in place in selected district centres. You can read more about these measures here.

To help ensure Southampton is a safe and enjoyable place for all to visit, please follow both government advice and regulations, and local guidance in the city. 

When shopping, please:

  • Don't visit if you should be self-isolating
  • Follow markers to keep a safe distance in queues and don't join queues that are full
  • Shop in small groups or on your own (no more than 6) 
  • Keep moving through the city centre
  • Only touch products you are planning to buy
  • Show respect to shop staff and other customers

It is now mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, supermarkets, theatres, museums, cinemas, galleries, beauty salons and hairdressers unless you have a medical reason not to. Please be aware that businesses can refuse your entry if you do not comply and the Police can fine you up to £100. You can find the full list of where to wear a face covering and how to make your own here. 

Eating and Drinking in Southampton

In line with national guidance, pubs, restaurants and cafes are allowed to reopen from Saturday 4 July, provided they have taken appropriate safety measures. Most businesses have now reopened in the city but customers should be prepared for changes compared with pre-lockdown. Please be aware that under new Government law, all hospitality venues must close at 10pm. 

If you’re planning to visit Southampton’s pubs, restaurants and cafes please:

  1. Check businesses are open before visiting and what new measures and processes they have put in place – e.g. bookings only (see below), ordering via app/phone, queueing areas, whether they’re still accepting cash payments
  2. Book ahead where possible –many hospitality businesses are operating on a pre-bookings only basis and any that allow walk-ins are likely to have queues due to reduced capacity as a result of social distancing. Even if not mandatory, pre-booking is strongly recommended where possible
  3. Be aware of current social distancing guidelines – 2 metres or ‘1 metre plus’ where 2 metres isn’t possible and other steps have been taken to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission. Hospitality businesses may be adopting the 1 metre plus option
  4. Abide by the 'rule of six' when booking a table and do not mix with other tables/groups whilst you are out
  5. In line with new Government laws, please be aware that hospitality businesses must keep a record of every customer to support the NHS Test and Trace system. Data (name, email, phone number) will be collected and stored in line with data protection laws. Additionally, they may ask you to scan a QR code on your phone, to 'check in' on the new NHS COVID app. 
  6. Plan your travel and remember that public transport operators will have reduced capacity on their services and face masks must be worn by passengers
  7. Adhere to all current public health guidance e.g. regular handwashing
  8. Be respectful to staff and fellow customers

Hairdressers and Beauty

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As well as other sectors, hairdressers, barbershops and beauty salons are also reopening in the city as long as they have a number of necessary safety measures in place. Customers must also wear face coverings in these businesses and most places will be on an appointment-only basis. 

Please be aware that close-contact service businesses must take your details for the NHS Test and Trace system or they may ask you to scan a QR code on your phone, to 'check in' on the new NHS COVID app. 



Hotels and guest accommodation are also reopening but like other sectors, many are taking a phased approach so please check with individual businesses on their reopening plans and procedures. Some businesses may have the official 'Good To Go' mark/logo which means they have followed specific Government guidance and are COVID-secure, ready to welcome customers safely. 

Please be aware that tourism and leisure venues must take your details for the NHS Test and Trace system or they may ask you to scan the QR code displayed in their business on your phone, to 'check-in' on the new NHS COVID app.

A Cleaner Southampton

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A dedicated cleaning team, provided by GO! Southampton and Southampton City Council, has been working hard to ensure our city centre is safe for businesses to open and visitors/residents to return. The cleaning team is disinfecting high contact areas of the city centre with antiviral spray on a daily rotation which includes public furniture such as benches, fingerposts and bins as well as ATMs, phone boxes and gates. They are also cleaning contact areas of car parks such as handrails, lifts and ticket machines. You should still continue to wash your hands and use hand sanitiser regularly.

Which Businesses Are Open?

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Over the last month, most non-essential retailers have opened in line with Government guidance, although not all shops are open yet. The city centre market is now back up and running, you'll find them in front of the Bargate every Friday and Saturday. To avoid disappointment, please check with individual businesses for reopening dates, current opening times and any specific measures they may have put in place. For a list of shops that are open in Westquay please check their website here.

Getting Here

Where possible and appropriate, walking and cycling to and around Southampton is encouraged. If you are using public transport remember that face masks must be worn when travelling and providers will be operating with reduced capacities in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Please check with individual providers for more details.

customers queueing socially distanced outside Primark in Southampton

More Information

For more information on COVID-19 head to our dedicated page here. 

You can also find more general information on Southampton and COVID-19 on the council's page here. 

Some of the safety measures have been implemented using some of the £225,000 from the England European Regional Development Fund. This marketing campaign aims to reassure, encourage and inspire residents in Southampton and the surrounding areas to visit the city which is safe and ready for their return. Visit Southampton and Southampton City Council will also be using some of the grant funding to amplify these messages through paid-for channels, such as: digital, local press, radio and leaflet drops. We will publish outcomes and results on this page once the campaign comes to an end.

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