The Oxford Mail was banned from talking to shoppers at Bicester Village yesterday after we tried to see what the site was like for ourselves following the coronavirus outbreak.

Reports that staff at the designer outlet – which attracts thousands of Chinese tourists each year – are wearing face masks, is correct with at least ten staff spotted wearing them yesterday.

Burberry was one of the shops with staff wearing masks and a cleaner was also seen being instructed to disinfect surfaces in the store.

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With a third case of coronavirus in the UK confirmed yesterday, Bicester Village still stands firm with a statement that it issued two weeks ago that it is ‘monitoring the situation closely’ and awaiting guidance from health authorities.

However some staff feel that they are being left in the dark by the outlet’s owners, Value Retail, about how high the risk is and what precautions they should take.

Oxford Mail:

The husband of one shop manager said on Wednesday that his wife had been given no information from Bicester Village about what to do.

The man, who has asked not to be named, said: “On January 20 there were 278 cases of coronavirus – it’s February 5 and there are now more than 24,000 – it’s spreading pretty quickly.

“Bicester Village welcomes thousands of visitors from China every day, the workers there are coming into contact with far more Chinese nationals than the rest of the population, but there’s a total lack of information about what they should be doing.

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“Value Retail is doing nothing to stop the anxiety about going to work that people are feeling.”

Yesterday it was business as usual at the site with shoppers, a handful of them wearing face masks, still grabbing discount buys.

Individual shops have their own precautions with one member of staff at a fashion store saying their team was using hand sanitiser frequently and making sure there was personal space when helping customers.

Others, though, are not concerned and also say there had not been a stark drop in the number of customers for this time of year.

Oxford Mail:

A barista at Elan Cafe said: “There hasn’t been much change as usually after Christmas it’s quiet anyway.

“The biggest thing I noticed was at Chinese New Year. I was expecting lots of people, but in the end we didn’t have many at all.

“I’m not really concerned though – I just wash my hands often and use hand sanitiser.”

Bicester Village has been quizzed on Twitter with shoppers asking whether it is ‘safe’ to visit.

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A woman from Berkshire who often meets her family in Bicester before visiting the site, said the way the outlet was treating the situation was ‘not good enough’.

She said: “I’ve called and emailed Bicester Village to find out what they are doing considering they get a lot of Chinese tourists but they’re blanking me - I’ve had no response."

The Oxford Mail also sent several questions to Bicester Village yesterday after being asked to do so by site staff, but received no reply.