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Hand sanitisers and queues: A ‘new normal’ as more shops reopen

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 June 2020

Shoppers waiting to get into HMV

Shoppers waiting to get into HMV

Archant

Many shops are open for business this week for the first time since March, so how are they getting on?

People queuing to get into Primark in RomfordPeople queuing to get into Primark in Romford

There were lengthy queues outside Romford’s Primark store on Monday morning as the latest lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Large numbers of shoppers waited to enter the shop, in South Street, with the clothing chain among those non-essential shops able to re-open.

One video, posted on Twitter by @Borolife, showed a train of people queuing outside the store at 9.05am.

Barriers helped to keep the line straight and the queuers away from other shoppers walking through the town centre.

People queuing to get into Primark in RomfordPeople queuing to get into Primark in Romford

Sports Direct - offering a discount to emergency service workers – was another popular destination first thing on Monday.

Markings on the floor in the town centre encourage social distancing and parts of benches were taped off to ensure people needing a short pause during their trip would not be sitting next to each other.

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Sales and marketing manager for Romford Shopping Hall, Michelle Fitzgibbons says they’ve got off to a good start.

People queuing to get into Primark in Romford. Picture: Ken MearsPeople queuing to get into Primark in Romford. Picture: Ken Mears

She said: “This week is going really well. I feel people are more focused in their purchases and know what they want.

“Not as many people browsing as normal but the shops are happy that our loyal shoppers have returned in force to support them.

“The new way of shopping is working well with most of our shoppers wearing masks inside to follow government recommendations. I believe as time goes by this will become the new “normal” for a while to come.

Mercury Mall shopping centre manager Spencer Hawken said: “It’s still early days, and it’s hit and miss.

People queuing to get into Primark in RomfordPeople queuing to get into Primark in Romford

“Some stores are doing phenomenally well, whereas coffee shops and open food offers are suffering as there is nowhere to sit and eat given current guidelines.

“The footfall is building each day and we suspect that this will continue to move in a positive direction while the R rate stays low.”

Commenting on the Recorder’s Facebook page, one shopper said: “There was hand sanitiser stations at the front of every shop that I went in and everyone kept their distance.

“It was nice to have a bit of normality.”


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