Primark Stores See Huge Queues Across England As Non-Essential Shops Reopen

Many of those queuing outside the chain's flagship Birmingham store were wearing masks, while one woman wore a full-length protective suit.

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Huge queues have formed outside Primark stores across England as non-essential shops open their doors for the first time since lockdown began.

Most retailers have been forced to close for almost three months in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but from Monday all shops can reopen providing social distancing measures remain in place.

Eager to get in store at the earliest opportunity, shoppers started queuing hours before the doors opened – with reports of some arriving as early as 5am.

Primark opened 153 shops in England on Monday morning, with branches in Derby, Liverpool, Nottingham and the flagship store in Birmingham attracting some of the longest lines.

Many of those queuing to enter the Birmingham’s store were wearing protective masks – with one woman shopping while equipped with a full-length hooded protective suit.

The woman used a brown paper Primark bag to cover her face as she left the store and passed members of the media.

Another female shopper, clutching three Primark bags, said: “It’s good to be back – it seems like forever since I’ve been in a clothes shop.”

Queuing lanes have been erected outside the High Street store to ensure customers entering and leaving are kept several metres apart.

Signs have also been placed around the 45,000 sq ft outlet to encourage social distancing.

The Liverpool Echo reported that the city’s branch was forced to allow customers in 45 minutes earlier than the planned 8am opening time due to the number of people that were waiting outside.

Around 100 people were reportedly queueing outside ahead of the doors opening.

Like many other retailers opening on Monday, Primark are implementing several safety measures designed to maintain social distancing, including two metre floor markings, keeping every other till closed and limiting the number of customers inside.

Speaking during a visit to the Westfield shopping centre in east London on Sunday Boris Johnson urged the public to “shop with confidence” but to stick to the current two-metre restriction.

The PM said they were constantly looking at the evidence to see when it would be safe to cut the distance.

It was revealed on Friday that the 'R Rate' – representing the rate of transmission for coronavirus – had risen to between 0.7 and 0.9 across the UK, with it sitting at 0.8-1.0 across England.

Regional figures showed that the south west of England has the highest range at 0.8 – 1.1. If R is greater than 1 the epidemic is generally seen to be growing; if R is less than 1 the epidemic is shrinking.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Monday, small business minister Paul Scully encouraged people to go to the shops.

He said: “The high street is going to be a different place to what it was before, with the one-way systems, with the hand sanitisers, and with people not trying clothes on in the same way.

“But, nonetheless, it is safe to shop. I would encourage people to be sensible, work with the people in the shop but do go out and shop, and start opening our economy gradually and carefully.”

He added the government would keep the two-metre rule “under review”.


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