Home Kent News Bluewater to continue mask policy after July 19 ‘freedom day’

Bluewater to continue mask policy after July 19 ‘freedom day’

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Original article from Kent Live

Bluewater is set to maintain a number of major COVID rules past the government's final major step in easing of restrictions, a spokesperson has told KentLive.

With the largest removal of COVID restrictions yet, many have hailed July 19 as 'freedom day', though excitement has been tempered by a worrying rise in infection rates across the UK.

Many businesses have looked forward to this deadline, with the ability to increase back to maximum capacity meaning a return to pre-pandemic revenue might be on the horizon.

Read more: Maidstone COVID denier 'snuck into hospital and told critically ill friend to remove oxygen mask'

However, Bluewater has urged caution and is implementing a more limited relaxation of the rules aimed towards taking advantage of the newly eased restrictions whilst making sure public safety is not compromised.

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Whilst many looked forward to the ending of restrictions when the lockdown roadmap was announced in February 2021, recent events have taken the wind out of the sails of many – and a large number of KentLive readers believe we're in for yet another lockdown sooner rather than later.

The initial success of the government's vaccine rollout plan has been hampered by a new, more infectious Delta variant, whilst cases have steadily been on the rise since May.

This momentum has picked up in recent weeks, with some areas of Kent now recording well over 200 cases per 100,000 – almost 10 times more per 100,000 than was the case in early May.

It is unsurprising then, that a statement from Bluewater urges caution from July 19.

A spokesperson for the shopping centre said: "“With the relaxation of restrictions from July 19, the health and wellbeing of everyone who visits Bluewater remains our highest priority and for that reason we will be keeping in place the additional cleaning regimes we’ve had throughout the pandemic and hand sanitiser will continue to be available.

“There will however be some changes that guests will see.

"These changes include the removal of the current one-way system and returning capacity levels to what they were pre-COVID.

“From the July 19, it is expected that anyone visiting Bluewater will wear a mask, unless they are exempt, and our teams will also continue to wear masks to protect those around them.

"We ask that anyone visiting Bluewater treats fellow guests and staff with respect and gives each other a little bit of extra space as we get used to this more relaxed approach.

"Although ‘freedom day’ is not a time for celebration – this has been an incredibly difficult time for many people – our outlook is one of positivity and excitement as we welcome back guests into a safe, fully reopen retail and leisure experience.”

Original Article