From the 15thof June, all stores that were shut due to being unessential stores, will be allowed to reopen their doors to the public. Retailers selling clothes, toys, books, furniture, electronics among other things were ordered to shut with immediate effect on the 23rdof March. After twelve weeks of lockdown, we get some sense of reality back, but it will be very different.
If you have been to a supermarket in the last three months, then you are probably familiar with the changes that happened in the supermarkets. Those same measures will be taking place in stores, with plastic shields at tills, markings on the floor for customers to stay two metres apart at all times and which way to walk around the store. When John Lewis eventually reopens, shoppers will be required to stand eight steps behind each other on escalator’s, as well as only one person at a time in lifts unless they are from the same household; John Lewis will also be reopening 13 branches in gradual stages. Shop assistants will also be wearing protective visors and have the option to wear masks to cover their nose and mouths; for customers wearing a mask is advised but there will also be hand sanitising stations throughout stores. Stores will also not be opening changing rooms; however, Selfridges will allow customers to try clothes on and sanitise each fitting room by steaming and antibacterial cleaning after each customer.
Shopping trips with friends also won’t exist for a while, unless you all belong to the same household, it’s not happening. Social distancing in stores is compulsory, but government guidelines advise going shopping alone to lower the risk of spreading the virus. There are concerns that the younger demographic will take advantage of the eased restrictions, which is why some shopping centres, including The Trafford Centre in Manchester, has removed seating areas to discourage people crowding around in large numbers.
Customers are also being discouraged from touching items that they won’t buy, however different stores have their own policies that differ. H&M isn’t allowing customers to try on shoes at all, whereas Kurt Geiger will allow you to try shoes on but you must sanitise your hands, and where a pop sock, the shoes are then placed in quarantine for twelve hours, Selfridges is also allowing customers to try shoes on and then sanitise them afterwards. However, at Selfridges shoppers are been asked to not touch items unless they are going to buy it, unlike Next where customers can pick up garments even if they won’t buy them. Consumers who are more interested in makeup and perfume, you won’t be allowed to pick up samples and test them or spray them.
Whilst you’re out and about be prepared for other customers to be in a potentially foul mood. We are all living in a state of fear and anxiety, and we have had to change our normal human behaviour for the past three months. Also be prepared to wait in queues, once again if you’ve been to a supermarket in the past few months you already know this.
So for people going shopping remember to socially distance, wash your hands and don’t touch your face while you’re out.