Brendan Hattam, General Manager of Westgate Oxford, and his staff have had a busy week since the Oxford shopping centre reopened on Monday.
With around 60 of the retail shops open, around 50% of its capacity, the numbers of shops opening will increase exponentially from now on.
Shops that are already open include & Other Stories, 3, Burrows & Hare, Calvin Klein, CoCo Chemistry, COS, Dr Martens, EE, Ernest Jones, Flannels, GANT, Globe News, H&M, Hotel Chocolat, Hugo BOSS, Jack & Jones, JD Sports, L’Occitane, Levi’s, Lush, Mango, Oliver Bonas, Peleton, Primark, Rituals, Schuh, Schuh Kids, Seasalt Cornwall, Skechers, Superdrug, Superdry, T2, The Body Shop, The Fragrance Shop, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, Vans, White Stuff, Zara.
Goldsmiths is open by appointment only.
Other shops with confirmed opening dates include: Russell & Bromley on June 22, Next on June 21, Jo Malone in early July, Godiva on July 1, Moss Bros on June 22, Molton Brown on July 6, Mint Velvet mid July, MAC early July, Loake on July 4, Ted Baker on June 29 and Tag Heuer June 24.
John Lewis hasn’t opened yet but will in the near future.
Buzz Gym wills reopen on July 8 while other leisure brands such as Golf Junkyard, The Curzon and Escape Hunt are yet to announce when they will reopen to the public.
“The Westgate is about more than shopping, its about sociability, a trip out, catching up with friends, time off, and being on lockdown has created a really artificial situation, which is why people are so excited about reopening”
There are a variety of takeaways open, again complying with guidelines, for those spending the day at The Westgate which include Tommi’s Burger Joint, The Shake Lab, Pret, Neds Noodle Bar, Krispy Kreme, The Mac Factory, Benito’s Hat and Boost.
Sticks n Sushi on the roof terrace is open for takeaways and deliveries from Wednesday-Sunday.
My Cookie Dough will reopen mid July, Costa Coffee on June 21 and Victors on June 29.
(Check here for shop and restaurant updates https://westgateoxford.co.uk/special-opening-hours-reopening).
“We are really excited about seeing our customers again, Brendan said. “Sainsbury’s was the only shop open in the centre until this week, so reopening the non-essential retail side has helped people feel that life is returning to normal.
He added: “Westgate is about more than shopping, it’s about sociability, a trip out, catching up with friends and time off, and being on lockdown has created a really artificial situation, which is why people are so excited about reopening.
“Monday was an exciting and big day but obviously our first priority is still the health and safety of our customers and staff,” Brendan adds.
Westgate is following strict government guidelines in terms of health and safety measures, with extensive signage, floor stickers, extra staff, distancing measures, one way systems, hand sanitiser, and individual shop safety plans.
“We have a system in place to manage this unprecedented situation, but it is also up to the general public to comply with government policy as well as socially distancing as individuals. It’s about encouraging and assisting,” Brendan stressed.
Staff renamed Socially Distancing Champions are on hand to assist with any visitor queries about the measures.
“The Westgate is about more than shopping, it’s about sociability, a trip out, catching up with friends and time off, so being on lockdown has created a really artificial situation, which is why people are so excited about the reopening”
“It’s a new experience for us so we will see how it goes in terms of numbers and capacity and of course business,” Brendan continues.
A big responsibility then with so many people concerned about a second wave? “Absolutely. I’ve been the manager here since Westgate opened three years ago and I thought that was a big deal,” he smiles. “But we just have to keep an eye on things and monitor the situation closely.
“It’s been lovely seeing people coming back though. The staff here were all really looking forward to reopening. It’s been strange seeing it so quiet here but now we’re up and running again it’s nice to have our guests back.
“However, reopening Westgate is a vital part of revitalising businesses and shops in Oxford city centre. We are one big jigsaw puzzle and all need to work together to reopen Oxford’s economy which relies on having people in the city centre. The sooner we can get back to normal the better.
“Its not just about us but The Clarendon Centre, the High Street and museums. We are all part of Oxford’s jigsaw and it’s important that we all get up and running again.”
There are full FAQs about the lockdown at https://westgateoxford.co.uk/reopening-faqs