Non-essential shops reopen doors.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, food shops and pharmacies, as well other essential retailers including banks and petrol stations have been open – whilst non-essential stores such as book shops, and fashion outlets have stayed closed since 23rd March 2020. The UK government aims to kickstart the economy – which has severely withered. Thus, all businesses, small or large, have a crucial role in resetting the countries global economic status.
In an interview with BBC on 14th June 2020, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson reiterated that non-essential shops will reopen on 15th June 2020, and that “consumers should shop with confidence” – whilst wearing a mandatory facemask and complying with the 2m distancing rule. The British Retail Consortium (BRC), the trade body for retailers, is urging the public to "play their part" in making shopping safer. Along with 25 other retailers, it says customers should follow five steps:
· Queue considerately
· Maintain social distancing
· Follow instructions inside and outside shops
· Follow all necessary hygiene measures
· Be respectful to staff
Shops are also under strict order to install plastic screens at tills and insert floor markings to keep shoppers 2 metres apart – which is already implemented in essential shops and daily life (exercising, meeting friends, hospital, shopping). Major retailers such as Primark, Nike and Zara – to name a few - have lowered prices by as much as 70% to attract customers and to get rid of old stock and make room for the new.
So has the reopening of non-essential stores enticed customers?
In major cities across the UK such as Central London, Manchester, and Birmingham – saw the excitement and early influx of eager shoppers in a bid to revitalise their clothing collections. The Nike Store in Central London was particularly busy with predominantly late teens and young adults eager to get their slice of the discounts being offered – which has reportedly led to the breach in social distancing measures and hygiene standards.
However, in other cities across the UK, some stores were relatively disappointed with the total number of customers visits. Jaydee Darrock, from Warwickshire, was one of the first inside Primark's Birmingham store after queuing from about 07:00. She described it as "surprisingly calm".