Queues at Primark and Debenhams stores as Covid lockdown easing sees shops reopen

Shoppers queuing outside Primark in Bristol city centre ahead of the store's reopening. Credit: Bristol Live

People have been queuing across the West Country as stores reopened for the first time after the third nationwide lockdown.

Shoppers queued around the corner as stores in Bristol and Taunton, with Primark and Debenhams drawing large crowds.

Pictures outside Primark in Bristol city centre show a line of socially-distanced shoppers waiting to get in ahead of its reopening.

Debenhams stores have re-opened for a final closing down sale, with stores due to close their doors for good after the department store chain went into liquidation.

Debenhams went into liquidation in December last year meaning its stores will soon close for good. Credit: BPM Media/Somerset Live

Non-essential retail has been given the go ahead to reopen as part of the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Hairdressers, gyms and pubs with outdoor seating are also permitted to reopen from today (April 12).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the lifting of restrictions as a “major step forward” but warned people to “behave responsibly”.

"I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed."

Non-essential retail has been given the go ahead to reopen. Credit: Bristol Live

"I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme."

Mr Johnson has postponed his celebratory pint and government communications have been pared back to essential messages, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.

Read more: