EXCLUSIVE: Doncaster's Frenchgate looking forward to fully reopening on April 12

After 12 difficult months, Doncaster’s Frenchgate Shopping Centre, is looking forward to finally fully reopening on April 12.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:00 am

The doors to the retail centre open when the latest Government restrictions are set to be lifted as part of the four-step roadmap.

The centre has remained partially open throughout the latest lockdown, with a handful of essential stores and services continuing to trade.

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Frenchgate's new general manager Karen Staniforth

From Monday all non-essential shops and food outlets (takeaway only) will start to re-open and the management team are very much looking forward to seeing the centre’s loyal shoppers heading back through the doors.

New general manager Karen Staniforth said: “It has been well documented that the coronavirus pandemic has been hugely challenging to the retail sector. This applies particularly to retailers selling non-essential goods who have been forced to close their physical stores on

several occasions.

Social distancing measures will remain in place throughout the shopping centre

“The majority of our retailers have remained closed during what are traditionally busy periods in the retail calendar - the January sales and Easter for example - so we are very much looking forward to seeing them re-open their doors and get back to a more normal way of life.

“As always, ensuring the safety of our shoppers and staff is of the utmost importance. Previously implemented measures remain in place so that everyone visiting the centre - shoppers and staff alike - feel safe and confident to do so. An enjoyable and comfortable shopping experience is paramount.

“All stores will continue to have a limited capacity to ensure everyone can adhere to social distancing. When planning their trip to the centre, customers should be aware that queues are highly likely.

“Wearing a face covering (mask or visor) remains mandatory for anyone over the age of 11, unless medically exempt, and we would ask all of our customers to observe this. It is important to stress that we all remain mindful and continue to play our part to ensure that we protect

The Frenchgate Centre will finally fully reopen on Monday

ourselves, fellow shoppers, centre staff and the wider community.”

Hand sanitising stations remain available throughout the Frenchgate and the centre’s award-winning cleaning team will be carrying out increased cleaning activities.

Not all stores will necessarily be open immediately, so shoppers are advised to check with individual stores or visit the centre website and social media channels before they make a special trip. Some food and drink retailers will be open but for takeaway and delivery services

only.

There is currently still no news on the empty Debenhams unit which had to close its doors last years after 14 years. The national firm officially started a liquidation process after JD Sports pulled out of a possible rescue deal having gone into administration in April and cut about 6,500 jobs since May as it struggled to stay afloat.

There has been some speculation that the unit may well reopen as a clearance store but this has not been confirmed.

There has also been concern as the store is a means to access the Frenchgate car park.

We contacted Debenhams but have not yet received a response.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.