Ikea is set to reopen 19 stores across England and Northern Ireland from next month – but restaurants and play areas will remain closed.
The Swedish homewares chain said social distancing wardens will patrol the store in an effort to reduce the chance of spreading coronavirus when the retailer reopens from June 1.
Families will be banned from entering the store together, with Ikea confirming it will only allow one adult and one child per household inside the store at any one point.
Restaurants and play areas will stay closed but the food market will reopen for customers to buy Swedish meatballs to cook at home, the retailer added.
The homewares giant also today revealed its Coventry store, which was already facing the axe, will remain closed permanently.
Ikea is set to reopen 19 stores across England and Northern Ireland from next month – but restaurants and play areas will stay closed (stock image)
Since the pandemic and the subsequent closure of stores, Ikea’s car parks in Gateshead and Wembley have been turned into drive-through coronavirus testing sites.
Key workers were allowed to shop in the Swedish Food Markets after being tested.
Bosses said they aim to limit customer numbers through a staggered entry system and are asking shoppers to ‘come prepared with ready-made lists and their own bags’.
Click & Collect facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also reopening in a phased approach, the company added.
Stores in Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland will, however, remain closed.
Extra hand sanitiser and more deep cleans of bags, trolleys, bathrooms, equipment and touchscreens will take place at stores.
Cash will not be accepted, with all payments by card or contactless only, and customers should avoid travelling to stores just to process refunds – with Ikea pointing out it has a 365-day returns policy.
The Swedish homewares chain said social distancing wardens will patrol the store and the number of customers allowed inside at once will be limited (Pictured: Shoppers queue to enter an Ikea in Bangkok, Thailand)
It comes as JD Wetherspoon today revealed its £11million masterplan to reopen its 875 pubs within weeks.
The chain closed in March despite its chairman Tim Martin claiming the lockdown ‘wouldn’t save lives’.
With pubs expected to reopen in July, Wetherspoons drinkers will be told ‘not to meet in large groups’ and will be expected to sanitise their hands on arrival and at other times during their visit using dispensers dotted around the pubs.
They will follow one-way systems to the toilets and through the bar where the tills will be screened off to protect staff likely to be wearing masks, gloves and eye protection, the chain said.
WHICH IKEA STORES ARE REOPENING?
The 19 Ikea stores reopening from June 1 include:
- Milton Keynes
Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the pint or wine glass and when ordered via a smartphone they will be delivered to the table on a tray for the customers to take themselves to reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19.
Families will be asked to keep children seated and always accompanied to the toilet.
Restaurant chains including McDonalds, Nandos, KFC and Greggs have also recently moved to resume takeaway and delivery services after being closed for weeks amid the coronavirus crisis.
Japanese restaurant Wagamama, Subway, Starbucks and Pret a Manger have also recently reopened branches for takeaway.
Under Boris Johnson’s eased coronavirus restrictions, the government has now permitted homeware stores such as Ikea to reopen in England.
DuneIn and Matalan have already resumed trading at a number of branches following the rule change, with DFS and Furniture Village set to follow suit in time for the bank holiday weekend.
Furniture Village will reopen all its 52 branches on Saturday after it trialled social distancing measures in six stores last week.
Homewares brand DuneIn opened seven stores across the Midlands on May 12, with 39 of its 171 stores now open for customers.
Matalan reopened 15 stores in England on May 18, after the retailer underwent ‘rigorous in-store testing and consultation with industry bodies.’
‘With our new safety measures in place, we are extremely happy to be back serving families across England, and look forward to welcoming our customers back into stores, and our colleagues returning from furlough,’ a statement said.
‘We are extremely grateful to all of our colleagues for their huge efforts in caring for our customers and the business, and to our customers for their continued loyalty to Matalan.’
The retailer confirmed social distancing will be in place in stores and staff on the shop floor will be provided with ‘full PPE.’
All ‘non-essential’ stops were ordered to close under Mr Johnson’s draconian coronavirus measures on March 23, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.