Keeping Southampton Safe

Keeping Southampton Safe

Now that we enter Step 3 of the Government's roadmap and most of Southampton is back open, a number of initiatives have been implemented to ensure the 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 on this page 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. For the latest guidance on what you can and cannot do in Step 3 go here. 

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 the measures in place here.

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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)
  • COVID-19 Marshals 

Face Coverings

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It is now mandatory to wear a face-covering in all indoor settings, including shops, supermarkets, theatres, museums, cinemas, galleries, restaurants, bars, 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.

Which businesses are open?

Non-essential businesses

In line with Government guidance, all non-essential retail businesses may reopen from 12th April 2021.

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

When shopping in the city 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 on your own if you can 
  • Keep moving through the city centre
  • Only touch products you are planning to buy
  • Show respect to shop staff and other customers
  • Follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance

Eating and Drinking in Southampton

In line with the latest guidance, pubs, restaurants, and cafes can serve customers both indoors and outdoors as of 17th May 2021.

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. When eating/drinking indoors you may only sit in tables of up to six or two households. Please do not mix with other tables/groups whilst you are inside a venue. 
  4. Under Step 3 of the Government guidance, restrictions have been lifted on the number of people allowed to sit outside together. You can now sit in groups of up to 30 if you wish. 
  5. Be aware of current social distancing guidelines – 2 metres or ‘1 metre plus’ where 2 metres isn’t possible and other steps that have been taken to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission. Hospitality businesses may be adopting the 1 metre plus option
  6. When moving inside a venue (i.e to go to the toilet) you must wear a face-covering unless exempt
  7. Please be aware that hospitality businesses must keep a record of every customer to support the NHS Test and Trace system. Data (name, email or phone number) will be collected and stored in line with data protection laws. You will be asked to scan a QR code and 'check in' via the NHS COVID App or the business will take your details via another method (i.e on a tablet or piece of paper). Under new Government guidance, ALL members of a group need to supply details, you will be refused entry if you do not comply
  8. Plan your travel and remember that public transport operators will have reduced capacity on their services and face masks must be worn by passengers
  9. Adhere to all current public health guidance e.g. regular handwashing
  10. Be respectful to staff and fellow customers

Southampton's Attractions

Seacity museum image

From 17th May 2021, all of Southampton leisure and cultural venues can reopen. This includes theatres, galleries, museums, music venues, cinemas, bowling alleys, indoor play areas, heritage sites and other indoor facilities. 

Some venues may not open straight away so we recommend checking with individual businesses on their opening hours as well as the covid measures that they have put in place. Most venues will be working at a reduced capacity to adhere to social distancing guidance and you may need to pre-book a time slot to visit the attractions (even if they are free). 

Hairdressers and Beauty

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As of 12th April 2021, all health and beauty businesses including hairdressers and beauty salons can open as long as they have the necessary safety measures in place. Customers must wear a face covering (unless exempt) in these businesses and it's likely that most places will be on an appointment-only basis so please book ahead. 

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. 


Outside Family Shot 3 1

From 17th May 2021, all of the accommodation sector can reopen providing they follow COVID-secure guidelines. You may only book for groups of six or two households in one room. 

Please check with individual businesses on their reopening plans and procedures. Some providers 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.


Mayflower Theatre Auditorium Cross View2

Both indoor and outdoor events can resume with covid-secure measures in place and reduced capacity. Most venues will be operating at at least half capacity but all businesses will have different measures in place to best fit their venue. 

For now, music concerts (and any other standing event indoors) will be seated, socially distanced events.

Keep an eye on our What's On page for the latest Southampton events listings. 

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.

Please note you should only be travelling around Southampton if you have to for essential reasons mentioned above. 

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.

Covid Marshals

Southampton City Council has introduced new Covid Marshals into the city to encourage visitors to follow COVID-19 safety guidance. The Covid marshals will be out and about in the city centre (and district centres) to explain and inform both businesses and members of the public about the latest Government guidelines to help keep everyone safe. You can find out more about the marshals here. 

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. 

*Information correct as of 17th May 2021*

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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