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Simon Harris says 'there's no need to camp outside Penneys' as major retailers outline re-opening plans

Under the government’s accelerated roadmap, retailers are permitted to re-open from Monday.

Image: Rollingnews.ie

Updated Jun 6th 2020, 2:39 PM

AFTER THE GOVERNMENT’S announcement yesterday that shops can re-open from Monday, major retailers have begun to outline their plans to re-open their doors.

This morning, Penneys said it would be re-opening its stores with street access on Friday 12 June while Ikea said yesterday it would be open for business from this Monday.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Health Minister Simon Harris said just because shops are re-opening soon “doesn’t mean we all need to go at once”. 

He said the greatest chance of keeping shops open was to adhere to all the advice on social distancing, hand hygiene and face coverings.

When asked specifically about the notion of camping outside Penneys, Harris said: “I don’t think it seems like a good idea. I hope people wouldn’t need me to tell them that. 

There’s no need to camp outside the shop. If it opens on Friday, let’s hope through all of our work it’ll be open on Saturday… It’s not like shops are open for one day only.

Penneys itself said that “rigorous health and safety measures” would be put in place in all its stores, with the ones located in shopping centres set to re-open on Monday 15 June.

Among the measures put in place by the clothes retailer are social distancing protocols, hand sanitiser stations, perspex screens at tills and additional stores cleaning.

To enforce social distancing, there will be limits on the number of customers in store at any one time. There’ll be clear signage and floor decals along with dedicated staff to guide customers through the store.

Every second till will be closed and fitting rooms and beauty concessions will be closed in stores for the time being. 

Its CEO Paul Marchant said: “We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in the other markets in Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately.”

Ikea will adopt similar practices when it re-opens on Monday with dedicated social distance wardens guiding customers and helping them to find their socially-distanced way through the store.

The homeware retailer will also have hand sanitiser facilities and more frequent deep cleaning routines for bags, trolleys, bathrooms, rest areas, equipment and touchscnreens. 

Play areas will also remain closed, as will the customer restaurant and cafe. 

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It will operate from 10.30am-11.30am for older people, the vulnerable and at risk, and open to the general public from 11.30am.

Martyn Allen, Ikea’s market manager in Dublin, said extensive measures had been put in place as “health and safety remains our top priority”. 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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