B&Q and Homebase shoppers today flocked to reopened stores as Brits started to venture out during lockdown.
Hardware stores have been labeled ‘essential’ during the COVID-19 crisis with B&Q reopening half of its stores across the UK.
Shoppers flocked to DIY stores this weekend after it was announced that B&Q and Homebase had reopened their doors during week five of the coronavirus lockdown.
Brits dressed up in protective clothing as they hit shop floors following the news that hardware businesses in the UK had been labeled essential amid the pandemic.
B&Q appeared to be abiding by social distancing controls, which included limiting the number of items purchased, implementing the two-meter spacing rule, restricting how many shoppers entered the store at once, and placing screens in front of checkouts.
Long queues formed earlier today as people headed to popular chains across the country to bag products including plants, paint, and home spas.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock explained that hardware stores were never actually told to close in the first place, admitting they had always been allowed to trade – as long as they stuck to strict social distancing measures.
Speaking to a reporter on Sky News, he said – The things that are restarting are things that we never required to close in the first place, but what the companies have been doing is working out how they can have safe working following the social distancing rules whilst people are at work.
He continued – Throughout we’ve allowed hardware stores to stay open, and the construction industry, but what businesses have been doing is taking the last couple of weeks to work out ok how do you stay open and stay within the social-distancing rules at work?
So it’s absolutely fine for those businesses to stay open because they were never required to close by the social-distancing rules.
The news comes after it was revealed that government officials were reportedly looking to ease the stay at home rules currently in place.
However, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has since warned the only exit should be when a vaccine or drugs become available to treat coronavirus.