SHOPPERS clustered around Nike’s flagship store in London, ignoring social distancing rules earlier today.
The Oxford Street store opened today for the first time in three months as coronavirus lockdown rules for Main Street are relaxed.
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About 400 shoppers lined up outside the store, ready for opening at 10 a.m., before heading to the front to be the first inside.
The crush prompted security to step in and limit the number of people allowed into the store to groups of around 10 at a time.
Cops were called in to control the crowd, who were then seen chatting with customers encouraging them to stand out from the crowd.
Nike staff also took to the sidewalks to tell customers to keep their distance while they waited to be cleared into the trainer’s store.
It comes as shoppers lined up outside stores this morning, including Primark and Sports Direct, with some customers camping out overnight to be the first to walk through the doors.
‘Non-essential’ stores are allowed to reopen their stores today as Main Street finally comes back to life after the coronavirus shutdown.
Retailers had to implement a series of ‘secure Covid-19’ measures, including social distancing and limiting the number of buyers allowed in stores at the same time, before reopening to the public.
Stores risk being fined or closed if they are found to be breaking the rules.
At its Birmingham flagship store, Primark customers were seen lining up overnight to be the front line, forcing the store to open early to keep up with demand.
The store was supposed to open at 8 a.m. but ended up leaving shoppers 35 minutes earlier at 7:25 a.m., according to Birmingham live, who reported how a superfan lined up from 4:30 a.m. to be the first inside.
Similar queues were also seen outside branches of Sports Direct, Nike, Next and John Lewis stores.
It comes as retailers including Debenhams and Zara have slashed by up to 70% to get shoppers to start spending – although Primark has previously said it won’t launch special sales or flash discounts.
Only the main streets of England reopen from today – no date has been announced by the decentralized government for when stores in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow.
Changes customers can expect inside stores include fewer checkouts, no testers, and new contactless returns.
Shoppers will also be prohibited from trying on clothes and will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer stations before entering stores.
A Nike spokesperson said, “The safety and well-being of our employees, consumers and communities is always our top priority.
“We have extensive social distancing and health protocols for the coronavirus (COVID19) in place at all of our owned and operated stores.
“Outside of our stores, we have hosts and security in addition to window signs, reminding consumers to practice social distancing.
“In addition, we work in partnership with city councils to ensure that we are following local guidelines. “
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Brits tweeted about the queues on their main street this morning, with some criticizing customers for not social distancing.
One person posted: “The queue outside of Primark in town started at 6 a.m. apparently the store doesn’t open until 10 a.m.”
Another said: “I literally just saw more people lining up for Primark than a Beyoncé concert.”
A third tweeted: “If you go up Primark, can you buy me some socks, nice pajamas, jeans, nails, that good face powder and some of them cute face masks. expectation is mental and I miss my 3 books. “
Tweeting about the line of customers outside Niketown in Oxford Circus, London, one shopper said: “It’s good to see the line watching social distancing as well. Not …”
Three of the top five stores are slated to reopen today as part of our Bounce Back Britain campaign to help people, communities and businesses get back on their feet.
The Sun has put together a comprehensive list of retailers you can now shop from.
Stores are desperate for a boost as shoppers return to Main Street with the lockdown costing them £ 1.8bn per week according to new data from the British Retail Consortium.
It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering a temporary VAT cut for Britain to spend again.
The temperature reports how the Treasury will make a decision once the numbers show whether buyers are spending again.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that all “non-essential” retailers would be allowed to reopen on June 15 in an announcement on May 25.
Previously, only stores deemed ‘essential’ were allowed to remain open during the Covid-19 lockdown – this included retailers that sell food and medicine, as well as some hardware stores.
Household goods stores were given the green light to reopen on May 20, while outdoor markets and car showrooms were able to reopen on June 1.
“Non-essential” stores have been asked to make their businesses “Covid-secure” before reopening.
This includes ensuring that the NHS has the capacity to provide intensive care and specialist treatment, as well as ensuring that there is a sustained and consistent decline in daily deaths.
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