Indie shopping emporium Afflecks is set to reopen to the public this weekend as part of the city’s return to normality post-pandemic.
Like many retail establishments, the beloved independent shopping institution in the heart of Manchester city centre temporarily shut up shop back in March amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but will be opening its doors once again this Saturday.
Over fifty traders from the eclectic Afflecks family of independent businesses will be trading across all four floors under strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The coronavirus pandemic has presented an incredibly challenging time for the dozens of small, creative enterprises in the building. Whilst many have been trading online since March and have kept the spirit of Afflecks alive via their social media accounts, a forced closure has still had a huge impact on their businesses, but retailers are delighted to be able to welcome their customers into the building again.
Like all retailers, the shopping experience at Afflecks will look a little bit different when it opens doors after lockdown, but the indoor market’s tradition of being a safe space for everyone will remain at the heart and soul of the experience.
Here’s what you can expect from a trip to Afflecks once doors reopen this weekend:
Two-Metre Social Distancing – A strict two-metre rule will be in place right across the building and all customers should adhere to this.
An Increased Cleaning Schedule – All areas of the building will be sufficiently and regularly cleaned, with a particular focus on touchpoints.
Hand Sanitiser – There will be sanitising stations at entrance and exit points.
A New Entrance and Exit Process – Entrance-only via Church Street. – Managed entrance and exit via Oldham Street. – Tib Street entrance will be closed.
One-Way System – This will be in place in certain common areas of the building and again, must be adhered to by customers.
Reduced Capacity – A reduced capacity will allow for necessary social distancing across the site.
COVID-safe Traders – All traders have completed COVID-safe risk assessment and will be operating their own individual COVID-safe measures.
ATM and games machines will not be in operation.
The lifts will be closed – except for requested access only.
The Afflecks team and all of the traders have worked incredibly hard to ensure that the centre is a safe place to be whilst still allowing customers to enjoy the unique spirit of Afflecks.
Whether that’s appreciating the incredible public art, individual vintage finds, a warm welcome from a trader, or that handmade piece you can’t get anywhere else, the re-opening of Afflecks presents an opportunity to support local, independent retail at its very best.
Speaking ahead of reopening this weekend, Andrea George, Director of Retail at Bruntwood Works – owners of Afflecks – said: “We’re delighted to be able to support our Afflecks family back to the building.”
“We’ve worked very hard, together with all the traders, to create a safe and sustainable independent shopping experience. We recognise how hard hit small businesses have been by this crisis and we’re committed to ensuring that the independent retail remains at the heart and soul of the high street as shops begin to reopen”.
Afflecks will reopen to the public on Saturday 20th June.
It will then continue to operate five days a week: Tuesday – Friday, 10.30am-6.00pm, and Saturday 10am-6:00pm.
You can find out more information ahead of reopening via the Afflecks website here.
Married at First Sight star George Roberts reportedly arrested
George Roberts, a contestant on the current series of Married At First Sight, has reportedly been arrested.
The 40-year-old is being investigated for allegations of ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’.
The father-of-four, who was matched with April Banbury on the hit reality show, has had three ex-girlfriends come forward to raise concerns, reports The Sun.
Roberts has denied the allegations, with a representative telling the paper he finds them ‘deeply upsetting and does not condone abuse nor behaves in that way’.
He has still appeared on the show on E4 as planned tonight, as all episodes are pre-recorded.
This series of Married at First Sight has followed 16 individuals, who are matched up by relationship experts and don’t actually meet until they’re standing at the alter – though the marriages aren’t actually legally binding.
The Met Police confirmed a 40-year-old had been arrested – an arrest that The Sun has linked to Roberts.
A statement said: “A 40-year-old man was arrested in Worcestershire on Thursday, September 29, on suspicion of controlling and coercive behaviour.
“He was taken to a police station and bailed pending further enquiries.”
Speaking about the allegations when they initially surfaced, a spokesperson from Channel 4 (who run E4), said: “We work incredibly closely with our production partners to ensure all Married at First Sight UK contributors are subject to rigorous background and psychological checks, including the most detailed police checks a production is able to undertake.
“Any allegations of this nature are taken extremely seriously by Channel 4.”
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