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Coronavirus: Shops reopen in England with long queues expected

Lily Canter
·2-min read
Primark will open its 153 stores this week. Credit: Getty.
Primark will open its 153 stores this week. (Getty)

Non-essential shops are reopening their stores in England on Monday, after almost three months shut down by the coronavirus lockdown.

The government is allowing retailers to open as long as they have COVID-19 safety measures in place.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), is urging the public to "play their part" in making shopping safer by following five key steps. These include maintaining social distancing, following instructions inside and outside shops, adhering to hygiene measures and respecting shop staff.

Helen Dickinson, BRC's chief executive, said retailers had been "working around the clock" to create a safe shopping environment.

"Our shopping experience may be changing, but if we all follow the necessary social distancing measures and show a little consideration to those around us, then everyone will be better off," she added.

Safety measures being put in place include screens around tills, staff wearing visors and other personal protection equipment, one way systems and pick up services.

Shoppers may experience longer queuing times and be less able to touch products or try on clothing.

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Primark will operating a one in, one out policy and operating fewer tills to help distance customers. It will be reopening all 153 of its stores in England tomorrow.

Meanwhile Waterstones is introducing a quarantine trolley where books that have been browsed will be held for "a couple of days".

And HMV is allowing customers to drop off a shopping list, and collect the packaged items later.

Department store John Lewis will open its branch in Poole and Kingston first followed by another 11 shops later this week.

Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, said: "The survival of so many retailers will hinge on the success of reopening stores over the coming weeks and the pace at which consumers return."

There is currently no date set for the reopening of non-essential shops in Scotland and Wales. Stores have been reopen in Northern Ireland since Friday.

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