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Coronavirus: Ikea to reopen 19 stores in UK from 1 June with new social distancing measures

Retailer says social distancing wardens will patrol stores to ensure measures are working

Conrad Duncan
Friday 22 May 2020 16:03 BST
Ikea is preparing to open 19 stores in England and Northern Ireland with safety measures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus
Ikea is preparing to open 19 stores in England and Northern Ireland with safety measures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (AFP via Getty Images)

Ikea is set to reopen 19 stores across England and Northern Ireland from 1 June with a new series of safety measures to ensure social distancing, the retailer has announced.

The homeware chain has said social distancing wardens will patrol each store to make sure rules are being followed and the number of customers will be limited to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

However, stores in Scotland, Wales and Ireland will remain closed, in line with government guidance.

Ikea voluntarily closed its stores in March before the UK government's lockdown was announced due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

To ensure stores do not become too busy, the retailer said a “staggered entry system” and restricted car parking would be introduced, with only one adult and one child per household permitted in-store at any one point.

Customers have also been urged to come prepared with ready-made lists of what they want to buy and their own bags, while anyone who wants to return items will be encouraged to do so at a later date.

Store play areas and restaurants will remain closed, but the retailer's food market will be open for customers to make food like Swedish meatballs at home.

“We’re looking forward to warmly welcoming customers and co-workers back into our stores from 1 June,” Peter Jelkeby, UK&IE country CEO and CSO, said.

“Their health and safety remains our top priority, and that’s why we’ve put in place extensive measures to ensure the safety and comfort of customers and co-workers.”

The 19 stores reopening are Croydon, Greenwich, Lakeside, Wembley, Tottenham, Norwich collection point, Birmingham, Nottingham, Belfast, Manchester, Warrington, Gateshead, Leeds, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Reading, Southampton, Bristol and Exeter.

Extra hand sanitiser facilities will be introduced and more frequent deep cleaning of bags, trolleys, bathrooms, equipment and touchscreens will take place, the retailer said.

Cash will also not be accepted, as only payments via card and contactless will be allowed.

Ikea’s announcement followed other companies, such as Wetherspoons and Sports Direct, which put forward reopening plans this week in anticipation of a potential easing of lockdown restrictions in June.

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