'Don't come': Boss tells shoppers to stay away for now

Robert Bradley, Castle Quarter centre manager. Pic: Archant

Robert Bradley, Castle Quarter centre manager. This picture was taken before lockdown. - Credit: Archant

The boss of Norwich's Castle Quarter has told people to stay away unless they need to shop for essentials. 

Centre manager Robert Bradley said although it was "counter-intuitive" he did not want to encourage people into the centre now a new lockdown had been announced. 

inside of shopping centre

Chantry Place, formerly Chapelfield shopping centre. This picture was taken before lockdown. - Credit: supplied

Footfall was down by 35pc in Norwich's Castle Quarter shopping centre over Christmas. But sales were bolstered because of the success of the outdoor Mysabar cafe and restaurant. 

“As Castle Quarter is a mixed-use destination, the last few months have inevitably been tough," he said. 

"Our leisure tenants struggled due to restrictions during November and December, with the rule of six having a major impact on turnover. However, our pop-up Mysabar was a huge success with hundreds of people enjoying the outdoor, Covid-safe food and drink experience.

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“With regards to footfall in the centre, this is monitored via an automatic counting system. On several days in December we were close to reaching our Covid-safe capacity. 

"Generally, in the lead up to Tier Four being introduced, our footfall was around 35pc down from the same period last year.

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“While it may sound counter-intuitive for a shopping and leisure destination, we don’t want to actively encourage people into the centre at the moment. We have a small number of essential businesses still open, such as Boots, Grape Tree health foods, Poundland and Pure Electric bicycle repair shop but our priority is to keep our visitors, tenants and staff safe until the vaccination programme is completed and we can all start to enjoy a more normal life again.”

It comes as trade at Norwich's other shopping centre, Chantry Place, formerly Chapelfield, saw 196,000 people through its doors in the week before Christmas.

A spokeswoman from Chantry Place said: "It is a blow for our retailers at one of their busiest times of year with the January sales normally taking place, people enjoying a meal out, and after retailers put so much time, energy and work into reopening.

"Our priority right now is to support our retailers and continue with our Covid safety measure and will continue to follow further government advice on when we can fully reopen."

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