As the UK starts to gradually lift its lockdown, Ikea is set to reopen 19 stores across England and Northern Ireland from the beginning of next month.
However social distancing wardens will be on patrol to ensure shoppers keep their distance and families will be banned. The homewares giant says it will allow one adult and one child per household inside at any one time.
Play areas and restaurants will stay shut, but Ikea insists its meatballs will be available in food courts to cook at home. On reopening to the public, bosses said they aim to limit customer numbers via a staggered entry system and are asking shoppers to ‘come prepared with ready-made lists and own bags’.
Extra hand sanitiser and more deep cleans of bags, trolleys, bathrooms, equipment and touchscreens will take place. Click & Collect facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland opening in a phased approach and in line with Government guidelines.
Cash will not be accepted, meaning all payments must be made by card or contactless devices. Customers should avoid travelling to stores just to process refunds. Ikea has pointed out it has a 365-day returns policy.
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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.
Outlets in Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland will remain closed for the foreseeable future, the company added.
Ikea also revealed its Coventry store, which was already facing the axe, will remain closed permanently. Since the pandemic and subsequent closure, the chain’s car parks in Gateshead and Wembley have been turned into drive-through coronavirus testing sites.
Key workers were also allowed to shop in the Swedish Food Markets after being tested.
Ikea’s announcement follows pub giant JD Wetherspoon unveiling an £11 million plan to reopen 875 of its boozers from July at the earliest.
Meanwhile plans were announced for Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and House of Fraser could reopen from June 1.
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