Kenilworth shops are ready to re-open their doors for the first time in three months – but with safety at the forefront.
Masks, visors, plastic screens and gloves will be common place in shops which are allowed to open by the government from Monday, June 15.
Kenilworth Books and Sylvesters the Jewellers, which are both located in Talisman Shopping Centre, have been closed to customers since March 21.
Sylvesters the Jewellers is a third-generation family business which was formed in 1935, and was the first ever tenant at Talisman Square in 1964.
The shop has introduced visors and face masks for staff, six screens with slots for credit card machines, special gloves, and procedures to regularly clean door handles and counters.
Owner Phil Sylvester says he is confident that footfall in Kenilworth will be back to normal soon, but emphasised the importance of a safe return.
Phil said: “We’re excited to get back working and see our customers but we’ll be limiting numbers to three at a time.
“I’ve had contact from many people wanting to know when we are reopening, particularly with regards to repair work, so there is a clear demand and we’re expecting to be busy.
“The staff want to come back and are ready to work which is great. The government support has been very good and a huge help.
“We’ve got a fantastic workshop and repair side to the business and we simply couldn’t do that online. We specialise in diamonds, ear-rings, necklaces and people like to come to somebody you can trust and see them in person.
“We have been through tough times before but we’re strong and confident of coming out of this in a good position.”
Kenilworth Books enjoyed its most successful year ever in 2019 and has been located at Talisman Shopping Centre since 1970.
The business has been busy in lockdown with deliveries around the town by its ‘book bike’, with online and telephone orders thriving.
Despite the success, Tamsin Rosewell, partner at Kenilworth Books, is looking forward to opening back up for customers and has devised safe methods for visitors to browse the shelves.
Tamsin said: “We’ve been using our local connections and continuing to provide the service we do to Kenilworth.
“We’re a typical small business and it’s a small space. We’ve put space markers down on the floor to give a guide for distancing.
“But we’ve set up a fast-track system for people looking to just collect or pay, while turning the front desk area into a hand sanitiser station, and there is also a protective screen around our serving area.
“We don’t want people to lose that browsing experience, so there will be fresh gloves available to all customers that can be disposed on exit.
“I hope very much that people still walk past and pop in. I think very quickly we’ll get back to the footfall levels of before.”
Hugo Hawkings, chief executive of Discovery Properties – the developers of Talisman Shopping Centre – added: “We welcome the reopening of many shops at Talisman Shopping Centre on Monday.
“We are contacting all our tenants to clarify protocols and new guidelines over social distancing. In addition, signage will be installed to remind shoppers of social distancing advice.
“We hope that responsible shoppers can quickly bring the centre back to a new normal.”