Trinity Leeds shopping centre boss says demand is 'through the roof' as Yorkshire prepares to ease lockdown rules on May 17
and live on Freeview channel 276
David Maddison, Centre Director at Trinity Leeds, said it had been "fantastic" to welcome people back since non-essential retail reopened last month in the most recent easing of lockdown restrictions.
Mr Maddison, whose centre opened in 2013 and has 120 shops, businesses, bars and a cinema, said staff had since "had positive feedback from guests, and brands are trading really well".
The next stage of lockdown easing will see pubs, bars and restaurants able to serve indoors from Monday May 17. And Mr Maddison said: "The demand for our bars and restaurants has been through the roof for next week – with most venues already fully booked.
"To keep up with demand, an extra 200 covers have been added to our mall areas for the likes of Trinity Kitchen, Nando’s, Caffe Nero, and Costa.
"There’s clearly an appetite for getting back to normality and eating, drinking and socialising safely indoors and we’re expecting this to continue as consumer confidence continues to grow.”
Venues around Yorkshire are reporting waiting lists of up to three weeks ahead of Monday’s easing of restrictions because of the “very strong desire to get back to normal times”, according to a senior business figure.
Mark Goldstone of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said there was “clearly a lot of pent up demand” following months of businesses being shuttered during lockdown.
The chamber’s Head of Business Representation & Policy said after a tough year feedback he was hearing from businesses “is increasingly more positive in nature”.
He said a combination of the successful vaccine roll out and a route map out of lockdown “are building confidence and most importantly allowing firms to plan ahead without fear of a return to the start-stop-restart approach we experienced last year”.
Mr Goldstone said: “There is clearly a lot of pent up demand out there and a very strong desire to get back to normal times as we started to see following the first phase of reopening in April.
“Some of the venues we are hearing from are reporting two to three week waiting lists from Monday which is fantastic news.
“Indeed anticipated demand is such that we understand there could well be a shortage of catering and hospitality staff, at least in the short term. I am sure for many business owners Monday’s reopening will be a blessed relief and a chance to start rebuilding.”
Coronavirus restrictions saw the UK economy contract at the start of 2021 but the hit was smaller than first feared as growth rebounded in March, according to official figures.