With only a week to go until the big day, shoppers visiting Bury St Edmunds town centre for their last minute purchases are being reminded to be prepared for a different experience this year and to plan their shopping accordingly.
Coronavirus safety precautions mean that while many shops will be unable to allow as many people inside at one time, a number have extended their opening hours to compensate and shopping outside peak times is likely to result in an easier experience without the need to queue to get into every shop.
Our Bury St Edmunds, which assists town centre businesses, has put signage around the town to remind shoppers to stay Covid-safe.
Chief Executive Mark Cordell said: “Figures from this time last year show that some parts of the town were experiencing an average of 10,000 shoppers on a daily basis.
“Of course we are all looking forward to welcoming shoppers to Bury St Edmunds but are asking them to think about coming in at different times. If a shop is offering a click and collect service and you can book to collect your item just before they close then you may save time by not having to queue to get into the shop in the first place.
“If you do see a queue outside the shop you want to visit then please be patient, be kind and take the advice of any staff managing that queue. Remember the hands, face, space advice – there is sanitiser widely available and don’t forget your face-covering.”
As in previous years there will be an additional provisions market in the town on Christmas Eve as well as the usual Saturday and Wednesday market. On Saturday Bury St Edmunds Town Council has organised a free park and ride service running from Olding Road from 8.30am with the last bus leaving the bus station at 7.30pm.
Mr Cordell added: “We know that many people are choosing open air shopping such as Bury St Edmunds town centre rather than visiting indoor malls for their shopping experience during the pandemic, but we still need to manage numbers at this busy time. Where possible people should try to shop alone rather than meeting up with friends or family to ensure that only the person making a purchase goes inside a shop where numbers are limited at the moment. This will have the added benefit of reducing the queuing time for everyone.”
Details of town centre shops with contact information and links to their websites for special Christmas opening hours can be found at www.ourburystedmunds.com