Christmas shoppers crowd Manchester’s Trafford Centre despite Covid risk

11 October 2020, 19:05

Manchester's Trafford Centre saw large crowds over the weekend
Manchester's Trafford Centre saw large crowds over the weekend. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Images posted on social media on Saturday afternoon appeared to show little social distancing at the intu Trafford Centre in Manchester, despite high rates of coronavirus in the city.

One concerned member of staff told the Manchester Evening News that customers had started Christmas shopping early in anticipation of a second lockdown.

The anonymous worker told the local paper: “People walking around were packed in like sardines and car parks are at full capacity.”

"There are gangs of families and 16 to 19-year-old lads and it's intimidating. Enough is enough. It’s as busy now as it is at Christmas.”

Other social media users described the situation as “scary”, with one claiming they “counted 43 maskless faces” in one minute.

Another worker at the Trafford Centre tweeted: "It is insulting to me that people are coming in without social distancing and not wearing masks.

"We in shops go above and beyond cleaning and wearing PPE to protect everyone and it is just thrown back in our faces!"

The shopping centre has employed innovative ways to encourage mask wearing, including using a cheerleading squad, however the measures appear not to have worked.

One visitor to the Trafford Centre left a review on Trip Advisor on Sunday claiming they also witnesssed " lots of people walking around with no face covers on or not on properly".

Others also left reviews on the site over the last week, saying they were "disgusted how few people had masks on" and writing this was "unlikely to persuade me to return soon".

A spokesperson for Trafford Centre said: “The safety of everyone who visits intu Trafford Centre continues to be our highest priority.

“We have a range of measures in place to ensure we stay safe and adhere to the official guidance, including a rigorous cleaning regime, capacity limits, hand sanitisation points, a one way system and more staff on the malls to reassure people and provide guidance.”

The concerns over social distancing at the Trafford Centre come as Manchester and the surrounding area continues to be a coronavirus hot spot, despite local lockdown measures.

The latest data from Public Health England found 524.8 cases per 100,000 people in Manchester in the week ending October 6. Trafford had 325.2 cases per 100,000.

Despite opposition from local politicians, Boris Johnson is expected to announce further lockdown measures on Monday in northern England.

The Prime Minister is set to detail a new three-tier system of restrictions with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across the North of England and see millions of people banned from mixing indoors and outdoors

Five Manchester MPs have already written to the government saying they won't accept the city being placed under the strictest, Tier 3, restrictions.