Non-essential stores in North Staffordshire’s biggest shopping centre have been forced to close for a third time this year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest announcement placed Staffordshire under Tier 4 restrictions from December 31.
From New Year’s Eve, only essential businesses at Affinity Outlet, in Talke, will be allowed to open.
All non-essential retailers – including most takeouts and click and collect services – will be closed.
The only shops remaining open will be Home Bargains, Holland and Barratt and Well Pharmacy.
Next Outlet have confirmed that they will be open for Click and Collect, whilst Costa Coffee will be open for takeouts.
The shopping centre closed at 4pm today and will be closed on Friday, January 1, reopening at the weekend.
A spokeswoman for Affinity Staffordshire said: “These stores may operate differently than Centre opening times, so we suggest you visit our store page here for individual opening hours.
“Stores will be monitoring footfall accordingly and therefore, will limit the number of people allowed in the store at any one time. Please be aware that there may be queuing systems put in place when you arrive.”
The public toilets, soft play area and children’s rides will all be closed, with strict Covid-19 measures throughout the centre.
Affinity Staffordshire have implemented thorough cleaning regimes, social distancing markers and a one-way system throughout the shopping centre.
There are also sanitising stations, store capacity limitations and dedicated queuing systems to allow shoppers to social distance.
Some areas of the centre may be blocked off to discourage visitors from walking further than necessary.
Customers are urged to keep distance from other visitors, and wear a face covering unless exempt.
The centre are asking shoppers to pay using contactless, scan in using the Track and Trace QR codes, and sanitise regularly.
A spokeswoman added: “Stay local, shop local. If you are a customer who is in a different Tier, we advise that you do not visit our centre unless absolutely necessary!
“We would like to thank all our staff and customers for their support during this tough year. We wish you all the very best, and most importantly, a happy, healthy 2021.”