Britons could soon face a range of changes to the way they shop for clothes as the government begins to ease lockdown restrictions.
Following weeks of strict lockdown measures, the government has issued new advice about which stores will be able to open their doors to customers once again as the social distancing measures are eased in the coming weeks.
The move comes as the hospitality industry submitted a 75 page report setting out a roadmap to getting restaurants and pubs open on July 4, that includes ditching the hotel buffet and no more drinkers at the bar.
While it is yet to be confirmed which clothes stores will be allowed to open, the Government website states that stores selling essential homeware can now reopen.
Earlier today a message on the Matalan confirmed they would be reopening their stores in a message which read: ‘Following our decision to close our stores almost eight weeks ago we’ve been working tirelessly on preparing our stores for reopening with enhanced health and safety measures and strict social distancing guidelines to ensure we offer the safest shopping environment for you.
‘Given the change in government guidance on 1st May to include Homeware as essential retail in England, we are now pleased to inform you that we are starting to reopen selected stores.’
Britons could soon face a range of changes to the way they shop for clothes after the government issued new advice about which stores will be able to open their doors. (Stock image)
While the government has not yet confirmed which stores will be able to open, the move could mean a range of changes to the way we shop
While fashion retailers Marks and Spencer, said: ‘We are working towards reopening more space from June.’
It comes as Australians embracing reduced COVID-19 restrictions are quickly discovering just how much things have changed since the March 22 lockdown as shopping centres try to entice customers back and stores reopen for the first time in two months.
Daily Mail Australia visited some of the big stores to see what retail looks like in a post-COVID-19 world. And what we found were hurdles and frustration.
Now, standing among trendy t-shirt-wearing and iPad-holding employees of the Apple store, are spray bottle-wielding cleaners.
Within just seconds of shoppers leaving the wooden tables of the ‘Genius Bar’ where iPhone problems are solved cleaners swoop in and disinfect every surface that was touched.
It was a similar story at other shops throughout Westfield Bondi Junction, in Sydney’s east, with the new shopping reality in full swing – hand sanitiser stalls at every store entrance being the most obvious change.
There’s already been outrage across Australia from shoppers who were refused entry into stores for not using sanister, but Daily Mail Australia only saw shoppers happy to adjust to the new normal.
Temperature checks are carried out in queues outside the store, while employees kept track of the customer numbers to keep the store under the 10 person capacity
Australians are adapting to a variety of changes in a post-coronavirus world such as masks, compulsory at all Apple stores
After having their temperature checked, customers must put on disposable face masks which are given to them by Apple
Spray and wipe wielding cleaners are now located throughout the store, wiping down tables as soon as customers depart
Stanchion barriers have been assembled outside Apple stores to help manage queues, although they still snake for a distance at most outlets
Patience was always necessary when trying to find a park on busy weekend – but now it has become a must just to enter a shop.
Long queues are now commonplace thanks to social distancing rules, which mean there are fewer people inside a store at any one time, and a greater distance demanded between those queuing outside.
Outside every store are floor markings to ensure customers remain at least 1.5metres apart. The same markings are present in queues for the registers.
At popular outlets such as make-up stores Sephora and Mecca, customers are also required to have their temperatures taken before they can enter.
Anyone with a fever is turned away.
Outside the Apple store at Broadway shopping centre, in inner Sydney, the queue stretched for more than 20 metres from the door to the escalator before lunch on Wednesday.
Customers standing at least two metres apart were handed blue face masks to wear, and were turned away if they refused to put one on.
An employee then checked their temperatures with a thermometer and only allowed entry to those without fevers.
Despite the vast amount of space inside the large store, only a handful of people were permitted inside at any time.
A queue snaked across Broadway shopping centre on Wednesday as shoppers waited for their turn to enter the Apple store
Multiple Apple employees stepped outside the store to manage the line of customers as it grew
Employees, customers, and security can be seen wearing compulsory face masks in the Apple store
Customers refrained from touching digital devices, which were purposely put on display to be interacted with prior to the pandemic
The rules are part of measures introduced by the company to reduce the risk of staff contracting COVID-19.
SHOPPING’S NEW NORMAL
– Compulsory masks for staff and shoppers – but some stores will give them to customers for free
– Staff required to wear gloves
– Temperature checks before entry
– Social distancing in stores and malls
– Limits on the number of shoppers allowed inside stores
– Long queues to enter shops and for those waiting to pay at cash registers
– Hand sanitiser stalls outside store entrances
– Teams of cleaners to sanitise and disinfect surfaces shoppers touch
Apple announced the closure of its physical stores in March, directing its customers to online services instead as the coronavirus crisis worsened.
But as the infection rate began to slow CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple stores in Austria and Australia would reopen, but with new safety measures in place.
Some people see the safety measures as a good thing, but for others they are a pain.
Make-up giant Sephora requires also customers to have their temperature checked before they can enter the store.
There’s also hand sanitiser available and, like all stores, there’s a limit to the number of customers allowed inside at any one time.
Theresa Fagan told Daily Mail Australia the measures are ideal.
Ms Fagan, 32, is a nurse at a COVID-19 clinic in central Sydney, and she has seen first hand the detrimental impact the virus can have when precautions are not taken.
‘It’s non-invasive, the only thing that would be an issue is if you have a fever for another reason but then if that’s the case you probably shouldn’t be out shopping any way, especially not in this climate,’ she said.
An Apple employee wearing gloves points to a phone as he explains its features to two young women
A woman standing in a line to enter Apple appeared unimpressed as she waited for a security guard to deliver the results of her temperature check
Apple employees wearing masks help guide customers through the store after strict social distancing measures have been implemented
A Sephora employee conducts a temperature check on a woman before she can enter the store
A security guard waits outside Target on Wednesday to ensure the store does not fill with too many shoppers
Floor markers have been set up in stores to ensure shoppers maintain a 1.5m distance
ONLINE SALES SURGE WHILE TRADITIONAL RETAIL STRUGGLES
– Online sales will double after COVID-19 pandemic, and 20 per cent of retail stores could shut forever, new UBS report warns
– Best placed retailers are JB Hi-Fi, Adairs, Kogan
– Worst placed are Myer and Wesfarmers
– Online sales expected to be 17 per cent of market by 2024, up from 11 per cent now, but could top 20 per cent
– Retail spending fell by a record 17.9 per cent in April as virus hit demand
– That followed a record increase of 8.5 per cent in March
She said she hopes all stores introduce similar measures to lower the risk of a second outbreak in Australia.
Alana Juliet, 26, said she was escorted around the Mecca store by an employee when she went to buy a present for a friend over the weekend.
Tracy Terashima, 55, a make-up artist from Sydney, was also happy to endure the safety measures before entering Mecca to buy supplies for her next photo shoot.
‘If it’s the best way to keep the staff and other customers safe, I’m fine with it,’ she said.
But not everyone was as thrilled about Australia’s new ‘normal’.
‘It’s annoying,’ one woman said as she waited in line to enter the Apple store at Bondi Junction.
She held her blue mask in her hand until she reached the door. She wasn’t going to wear it until she absolutely had to.
‘It’s inconvenient. This is the first time I’ve had to line up.’
There to pick up the new phone she had just purchased, she said she hopes a vaccine is found soon so the social distancing measures come to an end.
An Apple customer is seated away from an employee as he examines his mobile phone
A woman gets her temperature checked outside a Mecca Maxima on Wednesday. Those found to have a fever are not permitted to enter
An Apple spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia customers can expect delays in stores due to COVID-19 measures slowing down operations.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,079
New South Wales: 3,081
Western Australia: 557
South Australia: 439
Australian Capital Territory: 107
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 7,079
‘Our social distance protocols mean a limited number of visitors in each store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers,’ she said.
‘We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for delivery or schedule an in-store pick up. Customers should expect they may have to wait to enter our stores as we closely monitor the number of people inside.
‘Customers continue to have several at-home support options including the Apple Support app, or online and telephone support via support.apple.com.
‘We also offer a mail-in service for select repairs.’
Restrictions were slightly reduced last week after the federal government gave the green light for states to begin easing restrictions on their own timeline, with the curve of infection rates dramatically flattening across Australia.
New South Wales and the Northern Territory were the first to allow indoor dining, although a limit of 10 customers were permitted inside any venue at any one time.
South Australia is currently allowing cafes and restaurants to operate outdoor dining for up to 10 people, with all other states are expected to follow in the coming weeks..
An Apple employee speaks to two men waiting in line to enter the store
Women were pictured wearing masks in a queue to enter Chemist Warehouse
Customers were spaced out to comply with social distancing restrictions which are being further enforced by store capacity limits
The federal government has brought in a three step plan in the hopes to restart the economy by July.
The first step – which has already been taken by most states – sees gatherings of up to ten people allowed and the re-opening of cafes, and restaurants.
The second stage will allow for gatherings of up to 20 people. Gyms, cinemas, and beauty therapies can restart as well, while community sport and some inter-state travel will also be given the green light.
Working from home will still be encouraged where possible under steps one and two.
Step three involves opening up most of the economy with gatherings of up to 100 people and pubs and clubs back open.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mecca and Sephora for comment on their COVID-19 restrictions.
CORONAVIRUS IMPACT – THE LATEST
* Australia has recorded 7,079 cases, with 535 active cases remaining. SA and the ACT have no active cases, the NT has one
* The national death toll is 100 – NSW 49, Victoria 18, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two QLD residents who died in NSW have been included in both state’s counts).
* More than 6million of an estimated 16million people have registered for the federal government’s COVIDSafe tracing app since April 26.
* The number of global infections is set to pass 5million.
* The federal government has announced a three-phase plan to ease off coronavirus restrictions in coming months, with states and territories to determine the exact timings.
* Social distancing and hygiene measures retained.
* NSW and Queensland public school students will resume full-time classes on May 25 as schools begin to open in Tasmania. In Victoria, prep to Year 2 and Years 11 and 12 return to their classrooms on May 26 with the remaining cohort back from June 9. The ACT has staggered the return of grades up to June 2 while students are already full-time in WA, SA and the NT.
* Outdoor gatherings in NSW including recreational activities, cafes, restaurants, clubs and pubs permitted to have a maximum of 10 people while social distancing. Working from home encouraged while public transport changes mean 12 people on two-door buses in Sydney, 32 commuters per train carriage and 245 people on the Manly ferry. Libraries and museums to reopen and regional travel within the state permitted from June 1.
* Victorians may have up to five visitors in their homes. Gathering limits relaxed to 10 for outdoor activities including fishing, hiking and golf. Maximum of 10 guests at weddings, 20 at indoor funerals and 30 for outdoor services. From June 1, 20 people allowed inside restaurants, cafes and pubs, increasing to 50 diners from June 22 and 100 in the second half of July.
* In Queensland, shopping for non-essential items permitted while up to five members of one household can visit other homes. Up to 10 people allowed to congregate in parks, pools and playgrounds. The Queensland and NSW border could reopen in September.
* South Australia has resumed elective surgeries and allowed regional accommodation to reopen. Dining and alcohol-consumption at cafes and restaurants allowed with a 10-person limit. Stage two easing of restrictions will begin on June 5 allowing more customers to be served and cinemas to reopen.
* WA has entered phase two of its recovery plan, allowing greater regional travel and encouraging people back to work while cafes, pubs and restaurants may seat up to 20 patrons. Further easing of restrictions expected on June 8.
* The Northern Territory has relaxed restrictions on parks, golf, fishing and swimming. Restaurants and bars can reopen with a two-hour limit, with entertainment venues to come. Restricted access to indigenous communities remains in place until at least June 18.
* In Tasmania, restaurants and cafes are allowed to seat up to 10 people with the same number allowed to gather for real estate purposes, religious gatherings and weddings. Premier Peter Gutwein is hopeful of making a call to reopen borders in July.
* The ACT has allowed outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, easing restrictions on sport and recreation.
* Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, public transport, some schools, hairdressers, petrol stations, postal and freight services, bottle shops, newsagents, retail shops. Restaurants and cafes opened in most states.
* Victoria has used the federal governments COVIDSafe app for the first time to track cases linked to a virus-cluster at three nursing homes in Melbourne.
* An extra $12million in federal funding for childcare services where more than 30 per cent of their staff are ineligible for JobKeeper.
* The number of animals killed on regional roads fell by 25 per cent during March and April as virus travel restrictions reduced traffic.
* Global emissions dropped by 17 per cent in April due to coronavirus restrictions.
* About 4000 homeless people are currently being put up in hotels to help self-isolate.
* The NRL will resume competition on May 28 while the AFL will resume on June 11.
* The referees union will head for arbitration with the NRL later this week over the league’s decision to revert to one referee for the rest of the season.
* Australia’s hospitality and arts sectors might not return to their pre-coronavirus state until 2026, according to Deloitte Access Economics, with more than a quarter of hospitality and one in five arts positions lost since mid-March.
* Retail spending dived a record 17.9 per cent in April due to strict virus social and travel restrictions.
* Cases: at least 4,989,270
* Deaths: at least 324,970
* Recovered: at least 1,960,503
Data current as of 1130 AEST May 20, taking in federal government and state/territory government updates and Johns Hopkins virus tracker.