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Published
Jun 15, 2020
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Retailers and local authorities hire extra security to control reopening crowds

Published
Jun 15, 2020

A small army of “social distancing wardens” has been hired to patrol UK high streets to support the safe return of non-essential retail.


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With many non-essential stores reopening their doors this Monday, local councils and retailers are employing extra security staff to assist with crowd management.

The precautions were necessary as thousands of shoppers flocked back to stores on Monday morning. Long queues were formed outside Primark shops in London and Birmingham, TK Maxx in Manchester and Zara in Leeds. 

Councils in Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford and Leeds prepared for the expected surge in shoppers by hiring private security firms and creating “social distancing ambassadors”, reported The Guardian.

Some big chains supplemented this with their own security teams, with the likes of Primark, Ikea and John Lewis hiring extra security staff to prevent unruly queues.

Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged the public to “play their part” in creating a safe retail environment. Together with a group of retailers, including Ann Summers, Crew Clothing, Debenhams, Fenwick, Marks & Spencer, Matalan and Mountain Warehouse, the organisation launched a series of five steps to encourage considerate shopping.

“Retailers have been working around the clock to create a safe shopping environment, so their customers can have the confidence to return to their favourite shops. Our shopping experience may be changing, but if we all follow the necessary social distancing measures and show a little consideration to those around us, then everyone will be better off,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

After months of inactivity, shops in England are allowed to reopen with strict safety measures. Shoppers are asked to respect two-metre social distancing, pay contactless and only touch things they are going to buy. Most retailers have also introduced measures such as hand sanitiser stations, floor markings and plastic screens at the tills.

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