Huge queues outside IKEA as Gateshead branch reopens

Hundreds of people flocked to IKEA in Gateshead for the reopening of its North East store this Monday, June 1.

Thousands of people queue stretching around the entire outside perimeter of the car park of the Ikea store at the Gateshead Metro entire for the first day of opening since lockdown (photo: Raoul Dixon/NNP)
Thousands of people queue stretching around the entire outside perimeter of the car park of the Ikea store at the Gateshead Metro entire for the first day of opening since lockdown (photo: Raoul Dixon/NNP)

The Swedish furniture giant reopened its doors at the Gateshead IKEA branch with an extensive list of social distancing measures in place to help protect both customers and staff.

It’s the first time the store has opened since Friday, March 20 as lockdown measures across the nation gradually ease.

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As a result, hundreds of people had to queue around the outside perimeter of the store’s large car park which was previously used as a drive-through Covid-19 test centre.

Thousands of people queue stretching around the entire outside perimeter of the car park of the Ikea store at the Gateshead Metro entire for the first day of opening since lockdown.

New measures in place include social distance wardens, who will help shoppers navigate their way through a strict one-way system as well as a staggered entry queue and floor markers to make sure visitors observe social distancing.

The store’s restaurant and sit-down areas have remained closed but the IKEA bistro, situated near the store’s exit, will operate a contact-free takeaway service.

Other measures put in place to protect shoppers include reduced shopping hours, cashless payments, screens at key areas and additional hand sanitising facilities.

Limited numbers of customers will be granted entry in-store at any one time and only one adult and one child per household will be allowed in at a time.

Thousands of people queue stretching around the entire outside perimeter of the car park of the Ikea store at the Gateshead Metro entire for the first day of opening since lockdown.

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

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“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.

“While the experience might be a little different to before – it’s the same IKEA, with the vision to ‘create a better everyday life for the many people’, and the ambition to inspire people through our brilliant affordable range and home furnishing advice.

“Throughout lockdown, we’ve had the unique privilege of being a part of people’s everyday lives at home, and we’re committed to continuing doing whatever we can to support our customers and co-workers on this next part of the journey we take together.”

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