There was a high influx of people at IKEA stores in Bristol and Exeter after they were re-opened yesterday. The stores recorded long queues of shoppers, and the car parks were all full by midday.
The stores were re-opened after the government eased the lock down to allow for gradual resumption to normalcy. The government had previously announced that selected businesses would be allowed to re-open on June 1.
The stores and other businesses were closed when the government issued a total lockdown of the country two months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A loyal shopper, Steve John, arrived at the Exeter’s store two hours before the opening time. The staff at the store called him a “superfan” for his determination to be the first customer at the stores.
These stores are among the 19 furniture stores in Northern Ireland and England that re-opened yesterday. Many of these stores reported that many anxious and excited customers were waiting to purchase household goods and flat-packed furniture.
The long queues were attributed to the social distancing measures laid by the government. Businesses were required to ensure that customers and staff should still keep a 1-meter social distance from each other upon re-opening. Everybody entering the store did so by keeping the social distance, thus causing the extraordinarily long queues.
The store’s management released a statement about the re-opening and thanked all the customers who had turned up in large numbers on the first day. The statement further indicated that the safety of their workers and customers remained a priority for them.
The statement also indicated that they had introduced new measures to give customers a comfortable but safe shopping experience.
These measures include the controlled queuing system, cashless payment, restricted car parks, use of hand sanitizers, and protective screens located at key points.