Be Smart in Southampton

Be Smart in Southampton

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 to before so on this page you'll find some helpful information and updates to help you have an enjoyable visit.

Be Smart, Stay Apart

Throughout the city centre, you will start to 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
  • Keep moving through the city centre
  • Only touch products you are planning to buy
  • Show respect to shop staff and other customers

As of 24 July, it is mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets, unless you have a medical reason not to. Please be aware that shops can refuse your entry if you do not comply and the Police can fine you up to £100. You can find out how to wear and make your own face covering 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, however not all businesses are choosing to open yet and for those that do, customers should be prepared for changes compared with pre-lockdown.

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. Be aware that hospitality businesses are being asked to keep a record of every customer to assist with potential contact tracing. Data must be collected and stored in line with data protection laws
  5. Plan your travel and remember that public transport operators will have reduced capacity on their services and face masks must be worn by passengers
  6. Adhere to all current public health guidance e.g. regular handwashing
  7. Be respectful to staff and fellow customers

As well as the hospitality sector, hairdressers and barbershops are also approved to reopen from 4 July, on an appointment-only basis and with necessary safety measures in place. Hotels and guest accommodation can also begin to reopen from Saturday but like other sectors, many are taking a phased approach so please check with individual businesses on their reopening plans and procedures.

A Cleaner Southampton

man wearing high vis, washing down a public bench with jet wash

Over the last few months, a dedicated cleaning team has been working hard to ensure our city centre is ready for businesses to open and visitors and residents to return. The cleaning team is disinfecting high contact areas of the city centre with antiviral spray on a daily rotation. This includes all 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. The cleaning team is provided by GO! Southampton in partnership with Southampton City Council.

You should still continue to wash your hands and use hand sanitiser regularly.

Which Businesses Are Open?

Over the last month, many non-essential retailers have opened in line with Government guidance. Not all shops will choose to open straight away, and many national retailers are opening stores in selected locations initially as a trial before rolling out reopening nationally. The city centre market is now back up and running, you'll find them in front of the Bargate. 

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.

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. 

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