Barrhead Travel is to start reopening its high street travel agencies from Thursday, July 2.

Three branches, in Widnes (pictured), Burnley and Liverpool (Allerton Road) will be the first of the group’s 49 branches across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland to reopen.

‘Several stores’ will open week-by-week in a previously announced ‘phased approach’, the independent agency chain said. The reopening plan will be continually evaluated over the coming weeks.

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Barrhead, headquartered in Glasgow, closed its branches ahead of the announcement of the UK lockdown on March 23, and a reduced number of its travel agents have been working remotely since.

Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said: “We’re pleased to announce the gradual reopening of our network which will commence this week with several of our English-based stores.

“Our approach to reopening has been cautious and well-planned: we have undertaken extensive risk assessments for each store to ensure that that we can offer a safe and healthy environment for our colleagues and customers. The last few months have been challenging as we’ve adapted to working remotely but our Barrhead Travel team have been fantastic and I am so proud of everyone.”

Dobson said she had every confidence there was a strong future for high street travel agencies.

“The retail experience will look slightly different in the interim with social distancing measures and PPE present in stores,” she said. “However, now more than ever, holidaymakers will be looking for the reassurance that a reputable travel agent can provide. Whether that’s via face-to-face consultations or via video appointments which have become part of daily life, experienced travel agents bring significant value and expertise to the holiday experience.”

Including its managed service travel partners and its 49 Barrhead Travel-branded stores, the agency operates 95 stores on the high street.