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City centre shopping and business FAQs (coronavirus)

City centre shopping has reopened in Swansea. We thank all those, including shoppers and retail staff, who are helping keep people safe. Please continue to shop responsibly and maintain social distancing.

We're working closely with businesses, retailers and other agencies on helping the city centre run smoothly and safely. Shops have queuing systems outside their doors to help with this and many signs remind shoppers of staying safe.

Please enjoy shopping - and do it responsibly by planning your visit, keeping your distance and being patient.

Check out our frequently asked questions:

 

City centre coronavirus banner

 

When will Swansea City Centre re-open?

The city centre has never closed but there have been, and remain, government restrictions as to the types of business that can open. This has been for a good reason - to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. 

Some restrictions have been lifted - but we all still have to continue with physical distancing measures, staying at least 2m away from people from other households.

The Welsh Government have allowed retailers classed as non-essential to re-open from 22 June on the basis of the medical and scientific advice.

Hair salons have been permitted to reopen from 13 July and premises who traditionally service food and drink are only allowed to operate on a takeaway and delivery basis and use outdoor areas outside their premises.

We have been working closely with the businesses in the city centre to ensure that the appropriate safety measures are in place and that those returning to the shops and venues can be reassured that they can enjoy Swansea safely.

Please use all sites and services responsibly and respect other people, including business staff, fellow shoppers and those working to keep our communities safe.

 

What'll be different to before lockdown?

Physical distancing - and all the measures put in place to allow you to do that.

Please plan your visit to the city centre. Most of our stores are now reopen but if many thousands visit at the same time there will be significant queues for car parks, shops and other businesses which will give rise to frustration and difficulties for you to maintain social distancing.

A limited number of people will be allowed on re-opened premises at any one time so, if a lot of people flock to the city centre at once, you can expect significant queues outside shops and other businesses. Measures have been taken to plan for this and the shop staff will be proactively managing their queues. Please follow their instruction and at all times follow physical distancing rules.

There are lots of new signs in place across the city centre - in shops, on streets and in locations such as the Quadrant Shopping Centre, the market and arcades. On the streets there are also signs and floor markers to help you queue and keep physical distancing.

There's hand sanitiser available for your free use in the Quadrant and Swansea Market as well as at the entrances and exits to many stores and venues.

In order to support local businesses and to release space to support social distancing, we may remove some street furniture and other items, extend or introduce new Traffic Regulation Orders and relocate street traders. Our Civil Enforcement Officers will also be issuing fines to those that park illegally.

So please: Love your city by supporting business, following the rules, staying apart and being considerate.

 

Should I wear a facemask?

In some circumstances where it might be difficult to stay 2m away from others, the Welsh Government advises the use of three-layer, non-medical face coverings. This will become mandatory on public transport here in Wales from 27 July.

In the meantime face coverings are advised in indoor venues and on public transport, but if you travel to England they are mandatory.

 

Why is there no pedestrian one-way system on the streets like in some other places?

We think this would be unworkable because of the wide variety of streets, lanes and pedestrian areas in the city centre.

A one-way system will be in place however in the Quadrant Shopping Centre - the routes are well signed and staff are on hand to help.

Wind Street has historically been closed for safety to vehicles on weekends and during busy evenings. The road closures are not happening right now but this is something that we will look at once the pubs, clubs and restaurants there start to reopen.

 

What if the system isn't working?

We're confident it will and that people will stay safe as long as we're all responsible by staying apart. Of course, the new arrangements will be kept under review by the council and partners and changes will be made where appropriate.

 

How can I be sure that a trip to the city centre will be safe?

The measures above will be a big help.

There will also be help from shop staff for those queuing.

The Police, City Centre Rangers, Trading Standards and Licensing Officers will be there, especially in the early days, to help explain things and to make it clear that physical distancing must be adhered to.

In the past few weeks around 40 city centre businesses, such as food outlets and banks, have been open and the rangers have reported that most shoppers have maintained physical distancing. Thanks to all who have done that!

The Police and City Centre Rangers are also here to help in matters of anti-social behaviour which have seen a significant fall during lockdown. To report any issues please contact 101 or if it's an emergency dial 999.

Swansea BID is issuing a free reopening pack to businesses. These contain information on risk assessments, hygiene requirements and legal advice together with samples of PPE - https://www.swanseabid.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Returning-to-Work-under-Coronavirus-Restrictions-Guidance-Notes.pdf

 

Will toilets be open and where can we wash our hands?

Toilet facilities in stores such as Tesco Swansea Marina and Sainsbury have remained open to their customers for the duration of the lock-down. 

The public toilets in the Quadrant Bus Station are now open daily from 9.00am until 6.00pm. The 30p charge remains in place as before, and staff are on hand to manage the numbers using the facilities as well as to undertake additional cleaning.

The toilets in Debenhams are also now open and those in the Quadrant Shopping Centre will open from Monday 3 August

The toilets in M&S and Wilkos are yet to open but the premises that are offering outdoor seating for food and drink are providing toilets for their patrons.

We would encourage people to bring along with them their own mini hand sanitiser or wipes. There will also be hand sanitation stations in place in the Quadrant and Market as well as within many of the stores.

 

How will I be able to get around the streets?

As you did before lockdown - please just keep your distance from others and do not cut across queues.

 

How will things be for those with mobility needs?

There is access to the disabled toilets in the bus station (9.00am - 6.00pm daily), however there are no Changing Places facilities in the city centre at the moment. 

Plans have been put in place so that queues running across tactile paving routes are avoided and A-frames will be relocated where they are causing an obstruction. Similarly, where business set up pavement cafés outside their venues they are required to ensure access is clear in and around the pavement café. The city centre rangers are monitoring all this.

In terms of general street furniture, no seats or benches are being removed but people will need to observe social distancing when using them and signs have been installed.

Swansea Mobility Hire will remain closed for the time being, but we are working on a plan to reopen it soon - please keep this in mind when planning your visit to the city centre.

There is no change to the disabled parking provision within the existing car parks in the city centre which are all open apart from St David's Multi Storey car park.

Guidelines, which have been prepared by the RNIB, are being issued to all the shops and supermarkets in the city centre to raise aware of the Covid-19 related issues facing those who are shopping in the city centre who are blind or sign impaired - https://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/RNIBCOVID19supermarketbestpracticeforcustomers.pdf

 

How will I know where to queue?

Businesses are responsible for their queues so they will let you know as you approach the premises. The council continues to work with the businesses closely on the areas outside that can be used for queuing and to deal with any issues. These areas can differ in scale and dimensions so arrangements will vary.

Please be considerate and understanding when dealing with shop assistants - they are there to help you and keep you safe, and please remember that their space is limited.

Also please be considerate and understanding with other shoppers, especially those who may have disabilities or mobility issues.

 

How do I know what's open - and what's not?

Businesses are responsible for publicising their opening times and it is important to note that some stores and hospitality venues have made changes.

We recommend that you follow your favourite businesses on social media and on other places on the internet. 

Websites to check on include the Quadrant, Swansea Market, and BID.

 

Will the Quadrant be open?

Yes. The Quadrant has not been closed as it has some essential retailers such as pharmacies. The majority of its other businesses have now reopened but there are some that are opening later. Check out the Quadrant website for further details.

The Quadrant has a number of measures in place to ensure you can keep safe whilst shopping. These include limiting the number of people in the centre, a pedestrian one-way system with the use of signs, floor markers and barriers. Seating and mobile marketing kiosks have been removed to maximise floor-space. Personnel will be manning the entrances during busier times and patrolling the centre. 

Each shop will be responsible for its own queues. Please be considerate and understanding when dealing with shop assistants and with other shoppers.

Please note that the public toilets in the Quadrant will be open from Monday 3 August.

Further information on the Quadrant Shopping Centre can be found at: www.quadrantshopping.co.uk/

 

What about Swansea Market?

The council manages the market and has been discussing the process of reopening with traders and giving guidance on risk assessments.

Whilst the market closed to the public at the end of March, some food retailers there have maintained a delivery service through the lockdown - they've been here for Swansea throughout the pandemic - and they hope that they will retain your business!

The market reopened on Monday 22 June. Whilst many traders are excited to return to work some are unable to do so at the moment but more and more stalls are opening each day. 

There will be also be some changes for customer safety which is paramount:

  • The overall number of customers in the market at any one time will be managed.
  • Some of the entrances to the market will be designated for one-way traffic.
  • Signage will be in place at entrances and throughout the market. Floor markers will also be used. 
  • Staff will be posted at the entrances during busier times, queueing systems may be in place and these queues will be managed proactively by staff.
  • Opening times will change to 8.30am - 4.30pm but the market will continue to be open Monday to Saturday.
  • Regular checks will be undertaken by managers throughout the day.
  • Additional space has been made available to the traders, for example to allow for queuing.
  • All displays have been removed from the aisles to release space for social distancing.
  • Hand sanitation facilities will be stationed in key areas including the entrances and exits.
  • A deep clean of the market has been undertaken prior to re-opening. 
  • The cleansing of communal touchpoints will be carried out throughout the day and cleaning will also be undertaken each evening after the market closes. 
  • Windows and doors will remain open to assist natural ventilation.
  • Regular safety announcements will be made over the PA system throughout the day.
  • Emergency measures will be executed if the overall numbers in the market exceed capacity. This may include closing some entrances. 

Further details on Swansea Market can be found here: www.swanseaindoormarket.co.uk/

 

What's happening with street traders?

Many of our established street traders have returned to the city centre.

They too will be observing safe working practices to protect their staff and their customers.

 

What's happening with the sport and cultural venues?

There are no immediate plans to reopen the city's cultural venues such as the Grand Theatre. The same applies to sporting facilities such as the LC.

The library service is now running an 'order a book' service which includes Swansea Central Library based in the Civic Centre.

 

Are there click and collect services available?

Yes. There are designated click and collect parking bays on Garden Street which is located at the back of the Quadrant Shopping Centre. These serve the stores in the Quadrant Shopping Centre.

There are a number of other retailers who provide click and collect. Please refer to their websites for further details.

Swansea Central Library users will be pleased to hear a click and collect type service is now available from Swansea Central Library: Order a book

 

What's the best way to travel into the city centre?

The Welsh Government says that, to help curtail the spread of coronavirus, public transport should only be used when essential.

Bus services will however be increasing over the forthcoming weeks. Details of the current bus timetable are here: 

The best way to get to town, if you can't walk there or if cycling is impractical, is to drive - but remember that such journeys should only be with members of your own household.

Please note from 27 July 2020 you will be required to wear a face mask on public transport.

 

Can I cycle into the city centre?

As the amount of cycling has increased in recent weeks, the council is considering additional facilities for cyclists.

A new cycle route has been created along the Kingsway which connects with the cycle and walking routes into and around the city centre.

There are a number of cycle maps and resources on our cycling page.

 

Is the bus station open?

As of Sunday 12 July the bus station reopened and users now have full access to the facility as well as to the shops in the concourse, the Quadrant Shopping Centre, Debenhams and the public toilets. 

For safety, alternate bus bays are being used and some seating has been taped off to maintain social distancing.

Through lockdown buses have been limited to key services which have been operating from bus stops at alternative locations. With the reopening of the bus station services have now been brought back into the bus station.

Service levels are still reduced, and limited numbers are still only able to travel on each bus.

Details of the current bus timetable are here: 

National Express and Megabus have re-introduced a limited network. Their coaches are now operating from the bus station. Further details are here:

Please see further details of bus details and bus station FAQs on Coronavirus: parking and public transport updates

Please note from 27 July 2020 you will be required to wear a face mask on public transport.

 

Are any coach services running to and from Swansea?

Yes, both National Express and Megabus are providing limited services again. These are have been relocated to the coach station within the bus station from Sunday 12 July.

Details of their current timetables are:

Please note a face mask will be required to be worn on all forms of public transport from 27 July 2020 including by coach travel.

 

Is Park and Ride operating?

No. We're keeping it under review.

Coronavirus: parking and public transport updates

 

What buses are running into the city centre?

Over the previous weeks bus operators have been gradually increasing their services.

From Sunday 12 July when the bus station reopens, the majority of operating services will once again terminate at the bus station.

First Cymru is using double-decker buses on its busiest services (4, 6, 25, 28, 36 and X6) to aid social distancing measures. New Adventure Travel, South Wales Transport and DANSA are all now operating limited services, mostly under contract to the council, and these include services to and from Gower, and to and from the Swansea Valley.

Details of the current bus timetable are here: 

First Cymru have also launched an app that allows you to see how many seats are available on the approaching bus.

Remember from 27 July 2020 a face mask will need to be worn when using bus services in Wales - it's already mandatory in England.

Coronavirus: parking and public transport updates

 

Will taxis be available?

Yes. Limited taxis have been using the ranks in the city centre since the lockdown and their numbers are likely to increase as shoppers and vistors continue to return.

Similarly, private hire firms have also been operating throughout the period albeit in fewer numbers.

You will be required to wear a face mask in taxis from 27 July 2020.

 

Has the Kingsway gone to a two-way traffic flow yet?

Yes - and it's getting lots of positive feedback from pedestrians and motorists. The traffic on The Kingsway and seven other key roads around it switched to two-way traffic on 26 July. Please try it out. As the layout is new please plot your route in and around the city centre; look for our map and social media updates using #KingswayTwoWay. 

Two-way Kingsway traffic

 

Where can I park?

Council city centre car parks

Free parking continues in Swansea city centre

In terms of the status of the car parks, the council's surface level car parks and the multi-storey car park on High Street remain open as they have been throughout the pandemic - and they continue to be FREE for the time being. 

The Quadrant MSCP is also now open and is subject to safety measures. This will also be FREE initially but parking charges are under review. 

The reopening of  St David's MSCP is pending.

NCPs on Orchard Street, The Kingsway and Wind Street as well as several other privately run car parks are also available - please check their opening times via their websites.

The parking bays across the city centre continue to operate as normal. Please be aware that parking enforcement continues to be operational, with a focus on pedestrian areas, to ensure the roads and pedestrian areas run as smoothly as possible. Tickets will be issued to those who park illegally.

Whilst parking please remember to physically distance - keep 2m away from people who don't live in your household.

 

Where can I park if I am a disabled badge holder?

The car parks in the city centre have ample spaces for disabled drivers and there have been no changes made to this existing provision. 

Please note St David's car park is closed at the moment but all other council car parks are open.

Council city centre car parks

 

Will there by changes to the operation of pedestrian zone?

No. The pedestrian zone on Oxford Street, Whitewalls and Union Street will continue to operate from 10.30am to 4.00pm daily. Bollards are in place to prevent vehicles accessing this area during these times. Loading and unloading only will be permitted before 10.30am and after 4.00pm - there is no public access at any time.

Tickets will be issued by the council's Civil Enforcement Officers to those who abuse the pedestrian zone.

 

What about the road closures on Wind Street?

The road closures that usually happen on Wind Street have not over lockdown as there hasn't been any demand given that the majority of businesses there are food and beverage operators that have not been permitted to open. 

The council is reviewing its position in terms of how the road closures will operate in the future with a view to supporting the hospitality sector to reopen pending further announcements from Welsh Government.

 

What about the loading bays?

There are no changes to the loading bays located across the city centre apart from the bay immediately outside the entrance to the market on Whitewalls. 

This area has been identified as a potential pinch-point and the bay will therefore be used to provide more space for customer movement as well as to help with queues if needed.

 

Will I be able to relax by sitting down and meeting in a cafe?

Some public seats have been removed, such as those in the Quadrant; but none have been removed from outdoor areas. Signs are in place however to encourage physical distancing whilst sitting to keep you and others safe.

Where these are available, you are now able to sit in the designated pavement café areas and beer gardens outside the restaurants, bars or coffee shops which also continue to offer takeaway/ delivery services. To support these types of venues to reopen the council is also exploring the possibly of creating more space for outdoor eating and drinking.

Please use all sites and services responsibly and respect other people, including business staff, fellow shoppers and those working to keep our communities safe. 

 

Will there be events taking place in the city centre any time soon?

The city centre has a great programme of events and activities that take place over the year. In response to the crisis all events across the UK have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.  Locally, events have been cancelled up until at least October. 

For further information visit: https://www.visitswanseabay.com/swansea-bay-at-home/

 

When will the pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants open?

From Monday 13 July Welsh Government are allowing food and beverage operators to open their external outdoor areas to the public providing they can do so safely. This includes pavement cafes and beer garden areas and is in addition to the takeaway and delivery services that are already permitted. 

Not all venues have outdoor space available and customers are advised to plan ahead - particularly to check if pre-booking is required.

Plans are also afoot to reopen the pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants inside from 3 August, however this will be subject to the progression of the virus in Wales and the latest scientific advice. 

Behind the scenes the council and its partners are continuing to make preparations to support the sector to safely reopen ahead of further announcements being made.

Please use all sites and services responsibly and respect other people, including business staff, fellow shoppers and those working to keep our communities safe.

 

I'm a business in the city centre - what do I do about A-Frames and outdoor seating?

You need a licence from the council to be able to place an A-Frame on the public highway. Because of the need to keep areas free-moving at the moment to aid social distancing, sorry but new applications are temporarily suspended.

Business who already have a licence will not be charged until the end of August. If however the A-Frame is causing issues, for example, access to premises due to more queues, then you will be asked to relocate or in the worst case remove it.

Outdoor seating is also a licenced activity which is subject to a Pavement Cafe licence. To support local businesses to reopen their venues safely, the council has streamlined the application process and waivered fees up until the end of September.

These changes will enable food and drink operators, who are only permitted currently to open outdoors, to maximise their space outside and provide an alfresco service to customers. For the latest information on the Pavement Café Scheme visit www.swansea.gov.uk/pavementcafe.

 

When will hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons open?

Hairdressers and barbers are able to reopen in Wales from Monday 13 July.

This will be on an appointment only basis and subject to safety measures to protect both customers and staff.

Close contact services such as beauty salons and tattoo parlours have been given the green light to reopen from 27 July.

 

What is all the building work that is going on in the city centre?

During the lockdown special safety measures have been taken to continue with the regeneration work in the city centre that started before the virus.

If you have not been into the city centre for a while as a result of the lockdown, you will see things a lot of things have changed. 

Works to the Kingsway have been progressing whilst the digital arena next to the LC is really starting to take shape. Public toilets and a new Changing Places facility is also in the process of being installed in the market and enabling works to upgrade Wind Street will also be commencing soon.

City centre improvements

 

Will I be able to report poor practice by people or businesses?

Yes. If onsite please report these to Police Officer and City Centre Rangers patrolling the areas. 

A coordinated response to complaints regarding breaches of the coronavirus regulations is being co-ordinated by the council's Licensing Team who are working with Trading Standards and South Wales Police. Complaints and enquiries should be directed to evh.licensing@swansea.gov.uk.

BID, in liaison with the council, are advising businesses as to best practice as to how to comply with the coronavirus regulations and there will be extra council staff in the city centre to help manage the initial reopening period.

 

Who's behind all these plans?

The council's City Centre Management Team has been working hard on them with key partners such as the Police, market traders, Quadrant management, NHS, Fire Service, Swansea and St David's universities and officials from BID (Business Improvement District) which has hundreds of business members. Other council teams involved include those responsible for roads, parking, licensing, cleansing, toilets, marketing and public safety.

They are all eager to take a coordinated approach to help kick-start the local economy. They also want you to stay safe and help others stay safe.

The council is also working on a wider plan to stimulate economic recovery over the medium to long term.

Swansea BID is busy communicating with businesses on issues such as government restrictions and examples of best practice from essential local businesses that have remained open.

The council's City Centre Management Team is collating guidance from national bodies such as the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) - and from English centres where the easing of restrictions began sooner than here.

 

Why isn't everything going to be open?

Many Welsh Government restrictions are still in place. That's why venues such as coffee shops, bars, restaurants (indoors) and cultural locations such as galleries and theatres as well as sporting venues are not due to reopen yet.

The situation regarding these types of facilities and attractions is very fluid and the council will continue to work with its public and private sector partners to respond to the latest announcements from Welsh Government.

 

Are you keeping the city centre clean and tidy?

Before more businesses reopen we plan to deep clean key areas and are looking to enhance our cleansing resources. Please bear with us during the initial reopening phases as our teams move to being fully operational again - and please take your litter home.

 

Where can I find more information on the grants and support that is available to businesses? 

Grants to help restaurants, bars and cafés located in the city centre and district centres to re-open safely and serve food and drink outside are now available - Premises Outdoor Adaptation Grant

Advice for businesses about coronavirus

 

Where can I find more information on how to safely reopen my business? 

There is an abundance of information that available to business to help them reopen. 

On a local level Swansea BID has put together helpful guidance to support businesses in the city centre with their re-opening plans: https://www.swanseabid.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Returning-to-Work-under-Coronavirus-Restrictions-Guidance-Notes.pdf

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