Queues and busy car parks as IKEA stores in Exeter and Bristol re-open as lockdown is eased

A man queued for two hours outside IKEA to ensure he was one of the first in the store as it re-opened following a two month closure.

Steven John, who moved house just before the coronavirus lockdown, joked staff thought he was a 'superfan' after arriving two hours before the Exeter store's opening.

The packed car park at Exeter's IKEA store earlier today, 1 June. Credit: ITV West Country

The Exeter furniture store joined the Bristol branch as one of 19 across England and Northern Ireland to re-open.

Many reported long queues with customers anxious to shop for flat-packed furniture and other household goods.

Queues were partly due to measures brought in by IKEA to ensure everybody who queued, and entered the stores, did so at a social distance.

Credit: PA

The safety measures include:

  • Cashless payments only

  • Limited numbers allowed into stores at one time

  • Queuing system outside to stagger entry into the store

  • Car parks restricted

  • One adult and one child per household permitted

  • Customers to come with ready-made lists and their own shopping bags

  • Customers should not come just to process refunds. IKEA has a 365-day returns policy

  • Hand sanitisers stationed throughout the store

  • New protective screens at key points such as checkouts

  • Play areas remain closed

IKEA staff member wearing PPE helps customers, while another makes sure everything is clean and sanitised. Credit: PA

IKEA says it will have co-workers and signage throughout the store to help customers stick to social distancing guidelines.

Staff at the Swedish retail giant will also be doing extra cleaning, and sterilising to make the whole store as safe as possible.

Cars parked at IKEA Bristol this morning - busy but none of the major queues witnessed at other stores across England. Credit: BristolLive/BPM Media

Although the car park was full at Bristol's IKEA, next to the M32, no queues were reported - in stark contrast to the crowds and queues outside the store's other branches.