Liverpool shoppers confident to return as city centre reopens

Bill Addy, Liverpool BID Company chief executive

Health and safety measures put into place during the coronavirus pandemic are making people feel safer when they’re out and about in Liverpool city centre, according to the results of a Mystery Shopper survey carried out by Liverpool BID Company this October.

An increased number of people wearing face masks, adhering to guidelines, and the measures stores and restaurants have put in place make people feel confident about returning to shops and restaurants as Liverpool enters Tier Two at the end of the national lockdown today (December 2).

The surveys took place before the country was placed in lockdown and chart the mood and behaviour among both shoppers, retail and hospitality staff.

They also track the adherence to guidelines by businesses and the impact this has on the confidence of shoppers and visitors.

The study found a high compliance of COVID-safe guidelines across businesses in the city centre, as well as a sense that health and safety concerns were being met – 80% of those visiting said they felt cared for by the health and safety measures in place and would return to Liverpool city centre.

Also, 90% said they felt safe and would return to a hospitality business, while 75% said they felt safe and would return to a retail business.

Wearing face masks has increased across Liverpool among shoppers and visitors.

The number of people not wearing face masks decreased from almost a third in September, to just under a 10th in October (32% vs 12%).

Wearing face masks is mandatory within retail and hospitality businesses, and it is recommended in busy areas outdoors where social distancing of up to two metres cannot be maintained.

Within businesses, 94% of staff were reported wearing face masks in hospitality businesses, with 84% of staff in retail businesses wearing face masks.

A second Mystery Shop wave of visits will take place during December to further support businesses and reassure people of the COVID-safe standards when visiting Liverpool city centre.

Bill Addy, Liverpool BID Company chief executive, said: “We have seen a high compliance among businesses in meeting and adhering to the Government guidelines which translates into customers feeling safe and confident to return to Liverpool city centre.

“This exercise has been important as it has allowed us to identify easy-to-adopt recommendations to help firms reassure customers on the work they are doing to make their businesses COVID-safe.

“I want to congratulate businesses for their efforts and investment to make the city centre COVID-safe and also the people who are massively following guidelines, which is what we need to continue the good work of reducing the cases and protect our community.”

Jennina O’Neill, chair of the Retail & Leisure BID, and centre manager at Metquarter, said “As we enter a truncated festive period these are heartening results showing the vast majority of businesses and shoppers working as hard as they can to keep each other safe.

“This will add confidence both to shoppers and businesses looking to make the most of this period of festive trading.

“Liverpool’s entry into Tier Two post-lockdown is a result of the city working hard together, and this has translated into a high level of confidence about returning to the high street.”