Non-essential retail stores are set to reopen tomorrow, after weeks of lockdown restrictions and shoppers can expect to see some changes.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed non-essential retailers such as clothing and homeware stores, betting shops, electronics stores and more could begin to reopen from April 12 as part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
The roadmap aims to see the country restored to normality with all restrictions lifted by June 21 – if the government’s four key tests are met.
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The four tests include the vaccine-roll out continuing successfully, vaccine efficacy, infection rates and hospitals and new variants.
It’s no secret the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the hospitality and retail industry, and has in some instances led to the permanent closure of independent shops, businesses, restaurants and more.
With just one day left to go until the next phase of normality resumes, there a number of things businesses and shoppers can finally get excited about – as well as a series of changes.
While Liverpool city centre’s non-essential stores had to shut up shop during lockdown, other new stores used the time to make finishing touches to new premises.
A huge new Pandora store is open on Church Street as the jewellers have taken over the old Schuh site.
Liverpool ONE welcomed the retailer Vincentius, previously responsible for dressing football star Sir Kenny Dalglish, in December 2020 before the latest set of lockdown restrictions were introduced early in 2021.
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Next has taken over the former Forever 21 site. The three floors are a larger unit for Next which has moved from its old premises on the other side of Church Street and Liverpool ONE.
B&M opened its new site at Clayton Square. The store, in the former Clas Ohlson, opened at the start of March.
New cafes and restaurants
The new food hall, GPO at Metquarter, opens in spring but you can sneak a peek through the windows as it won’t be open for April 12, though you should be able to spot progress made.
Independent burger restaurant, Fat Hippo, opens this spring/summer on Bold Street. Fat Hippo already has restaurants in Newcastle, Sheffield, Nottingham and Durham.
In Liverpool ONE in May, new restaurant haunts include Maggie Fu, the Liverpool-based street food operator, and Mamasan, which is opening its first restaurant outside Scotland.
Animation in public spaces
Last summer, Liverpool BID Company worked with Levy Payers, alongside Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool to establish Liverpool Without Walls.
This supported hospitality venues to extend their licenses into public spaces across the city and saw the closure to traffic on Bold Street and Castle Street and the arrival of parklets to Bold Street. This will continue after April 12.
In Liverpool ONE, On The Green, the new experiential golfing concept, will be opening later in the spring.
Art in the public realm
Liverpool Biennial has launched and there are artworks scattered across the city centre including Teresa Solar’s newly commissioned outdoor installation, titled Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark) (2021).
The installation is made up of five kayaks, with each sculptural piece reflecting the shape of a human bone.
Art installations prove popular in the city centre, with the recent River of Light trail attracting throngs of people.
New works and developments
When the city re-opens, there will still be development works taking place. Work has begun on the new Flannels store which is due to open on Parker Street. The former Owen Owen store covers 12,000 sq feet and will feature a rooftop area. It is expected to open in autumn.
Work continues to take place on city centre connectivity, on both Lime Street and the Strand. Car parks remain open, but it’s advised to plan your journey in advance as some bus routes may have changed since the beginning of the year.
From April 12, Liverpool ONE’s non-symptomatic covid testing pop-up centre will be open from 9.30am until 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and on Sundays from 11am until 5pm.