Retailers across the country are warning that high streets “will never be the same again” as businesses slowly re-emerge from lockdown.
Matalan, Ikea, John Lewis and more are set to reopen next month, but with a string of new protocols to help reduce social contact and the use of cash.
It follows months of hibernation, which has left billions of pounds worth of surplus stock untouched in warehouses across the country, paving the way for what could be a bumper season of summer sales.
But what will stores be like once they reopen?
Customers “may never shop the same way again” after the coronavirus crisis, the boss of Marks & Spencer Steve Rowe said earlier this month.
“Whilst some customer habits will return to normal, others have changed forever,” he warned.
Ikea has said shoppers will only be allowed to visit alone, no bags will be provided and car parks will be extremely limited.
Boots, meanwhile, will introduce virtual beauty counters with testers have been banned for the foreseeable future.
Now, Primark has spoken out on how it will operate as the UK prepares to get back to business.
Stores, it said, will be run by a limited number of staff while every second till will be closed to help maintain social distancing.
Long queues will also be a thing of the past as only a number of customers will be allowed into stores at a time.
What high street chains are reopening in June?
“Nothing matters more to us than the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers. That is why we will only re-open our stores in the UK once we are convinced that it is safe and right to do so,” a Primark spokesperson said.
“We are closely following all safety advice from government and will treat this as the minimum standard across all our stores. We will put in place rigorous health and safety measures including a strict social distancing protocol, providing personal protection for employees and customers and increased in-store cleaning.
“Of course, this is uncharted territory for us and our high street neighbours, which is why we will continuously monitor our re-openings and our health and safety policies to ensure we are doing the best we can to help protect our people and customers, as we all continue to adapt to the new normal.”
Safety measures being implemented across all Primark stores
Limits on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for the appropriate distance in between customers and employees, following local government guidelines
Clear signage and floor decals, as well as dedicated employees and additional security staff, to guide customers through the store in a way that limits contact with others.
Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and employees.
Personal protection for employees and customers:
Hand sanitiser will be made available at the entrance and on the shop floor and back of house for employee and customer use. Face masks and gloves will be made available to employees if they wish to use them.
Perspex screens have been installed on tills to protect customers and employees
Increased in-store cleaning.
The frequency and rigour of store cleaning will both increase, particularly around high frequency touchpoints such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas in back of house