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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Staying safe when shopping


  1. Overview
  2. Changes to main shopping areas
  3. Staying safe when shopping
  4. Staying safe when travelling
  5. What businesses need to do


The government has announced that non-essential shops can reopen.

The Council is making changes to the following main shopping areas to make sure people can shop safely:

  • King Street, South Shields
  • Market Square, South Shields (see South Shields Market re-opening)
  • Waterloo Square, South Shields
  • The Nook, South Shields
  • Jarrow Town Centre
  • Hebburn Town Centre

Changes to main shopping areas

Hand sanitiser stations

Hand sanitiser stations are available in main shopping areas for shoppers to clean their hands.


Stewards operate from 9am to 4pm, at the Market Place in South Shields on market days. Read about South Shields Market.

Stewards are on hand to:

  • patrol the busiest areas
  • keep walkways clear
  • help shoppers to queue safely
  • remind the public to keep a safe distance

Messages and signs

Messages and signs are in place to remind shoppers to keep a safe distance.

Parking bays at the Nook

To allow more space for shoppers to stay apart, some parking bays closest to the shops are temporarily suspended at the Nook, South Shields. After a review, some of these parking bays have reopened (all spaces along the western side from West Avenue to Sunderland Road, and 5 spaces along the eastern side from Sunderland Road to Centenary Avenue) and barriers are being used to help guide shoppers safely

Public toilets 

There are new measures and restrictions in place at public toilets, and some are still closed for now. 

More about public toilets

Staying safe when shopping

Where possible:

  • Shop locally, and walk or cycle to the shops if you can
  • Follow the guidance in public areas and shops
  • Follow the guidance from stewards in public areas
  • Keep a safe distance from other shoppers and shop staff
  • Use the hand sanitiser stations, and take hand sanitiser with you
  • Wear a face covering, read more about when you need to wear a face covering 
  • Use contactless payments in shops
  • Pay for car parking by phone where you can, see paying for car parking

The Council has launched a campaign to promote the safest way to use our high streets, see

For more guidance, see GOV.UK: Staying safe outside your home.

Staying safe when travelling

Follow the government safer travel guidance for passengers.

The Nexus website also has guidance for passengers on how to stay safe on metros, buses and the Shields Ferry.

What businesses need to do

Shops can decide when to re-open. They must follow government guidance on how to work safely during coronavirus.

See what to do if a shop isn't following government coronavirus guidance.

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