The York Designer Outlet is planning to re-open its doors to shoppers on April 12 - the earliest date possible envisaged in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's road-map to ending lockdown.

Outlet centre manager Paul Tyler said the Prime Minister's statement on Monday afternoon had been 'positive news'.

"We now have an indicative date for our re-opening," Mr Tyler said.

"Whilst we would love to have opened earlier, this gives us plenty of time to ensure we have all the necessary measures in place.

"As the majority of the outlet is classed as non-essential retail, we are hoping to reopen on the target date of April 12.

"At this point we are still determining whether our hospitality brands will be operating as takeaway only, however we will ensure to communicate this clearly to customers ahead of re-opening."

Mr Tyler said lockdown had 'impacted the outlet' in the same way as it had other retailers.

"However, we were able to adapt and facilitate a number of brands in operating click and collect services," he said.

"Fortunately we haven’t been impacted to the same degree as the retail element on the high street, where some of the larger department stores have had to sadly close permanently.

"We do have a couple of units that are currently vacant. However, we have plans in place to have these occupied and re-opened following the re-opening."

The Outlet, off the A19 and A64 near Fulford, offers fashions from leading brands such as Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ben Sherman, Boss and Calvin Klein at discount prices

Some designer outlet staff had had to be placed on furlough during lockdown, Mr Tyler said.

But the months of closure had not been entirely wasted.

"We have also used the time to carry out essential maintenance, decoration (and) landscaping, with some brands also upgrading their shop fits.

"Wherever we have been able to do so safely we have used the period of lockdown to continue to enhance the centre experience ahead of re-opening."

There are currently no plans to make a 'big event' of re-opening, Mr Tyler said.

"But I suspect that re-opening will feel like an event in itself!

"So whilst we are not planning anything specific, we are just pleased to be able to re-open our doors to our guests and are looking forward to doing what we love doing - which is serving customers and offering our unparalleled and well-loved shopping experience."

There might even be some new stores for customers to enjoy, he hinted.

"During this lockdown period we have been in advanced discussions with a number of potential new brands.

"We hope to be in a position in the coming weeks to announce these latest editions to our centre… so watch this space."