Covid-19 National Day of Reflection: Hemel shopping centres look back at the last 12 months
Marlowes and Riverside continue to make the safety of customers, visitors and staff a top priority
Today (March 23) marks one year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that everyone across the UK was to stay at home for the first time, as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the nation.
Marlowes Shopping Centre and Riverside Shopping centre, along with Hertfordshire County Council and Dacorum Borough Council will be supporting the National Day of Reflection, and observing the national one minute at 12noon.
People are being encouraged to observe the one minute silence to show silent support and solidarity for the millions of people who have been affected across the world during the past year.
It has been an extraordinary 12 months that have changed our lives in terms of health, financial well-being and simple social contact with family and friends.
All non-essential shops were forced to close during each national lockdown, and a number of restrictions and guidelines were put in place when they are allowed to open.
Hemel Hempstead's two shopping centres - Riverside and Marlowes - look back on the last 12 months.
Ian Welland, Riverside Centre Management, said: "Riverside Shopping Centre has continued to remain open to serve the essential needs of Hemel’s shoppers over the past year and we understand the shopping experience will be different for some time.
"Our main priority continues to be ensuring the safety of customers, staff and contractors is at the forefront of operations and we’ve been working closely throughout the year with Hemel Hempstead town to produce clear guidelines on this.
"Shoppers can continue to expect a safe environment when visiting Riverside with signage to guide customers, workable queuing systems, updated cleaning procedures and hand sanitisers located around the centre.
"We’re looking forward to welcoming local residents to our open-air shopping centre, who can enjoy shopping safely in their favourite stores here at Riverside."
The Marlowes has also announced that Poundstretcher will be opening in the shopping centre this weekend.
A spokesman for Marlowes said: "Following the announcement of the first lockdown a year ago, The Marlowes Shopping Centre has stayed open to support our essential retailers and the community.
"We have worked with the local authority, retailers and service providers to ensure the health and wellbeing of guests and staff remained a priority at all times.
"One-way systems, hand-sanitiser stations, signage and queuing systems, plus controlled visitor capacity technologies were implemented to ensure everyone at the centre felt as safe as possible whilst adhering to the government’s guidance.
"Retail businesses across the UK have been hit hard by the pandemic. Our continued focus is to provide support for all our retailers with the re-opening of non-essential stores only a few weeks away.
"As we move forward to the future, we’re excited to be welcoming Poundstretcher, who open at the centre this Saturday, 27 March.
"We’re also in discussion with a number of other businesses who are keen to join the centre.
"We can’t wait to welcome our community back to the centre to shop local in a safe and controlled way."