Queues were seen outside shops in Southport on Monday as they reopened after three months in lockdown.
Sports Direct on Tulketh Street and Primark on Chapel Street were among premises where shoppers waited in long down the street. Sports Direct saw particularly huege queues, with shoppers tempted by a 50% off offer for NHS workers.
Yesterday saw hundreds of non-essential shops allowed to open since the Coronavirus lockdown came into force in March.
Others, such as beauty salons, nail bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels, hairdressers, barbers and others are hoping that Coronavirus cases continue to fall so that they could follow by opening in July.
After three months in lockdown, this is a vital time for our town, and Stand Up For Southport is urging everyone in our town to support our local businesses.
Yesterday was the first day of shops being back open and it may take some time for people to get used to shopping in ‘the new normal’ with lots of changes in place and people urged to maintain social distancing.
Speaking on the Stand Up For Southport Facebook group, Southport Business Improvement District Chair Susannah Porter said: “I find the vast majority of people very respectful and sensible about the possibility of infection.
“We don’t expect the shops to be very busy in the beginning.
“Everyone in town has put precautions in place. We are going slowly and apart from a few idiots everyone is staying safe. Hopefully everyone can come out and see for themselves soon.”
Town was busy on the first day back open with shoppers also enjoying visits to villages including Churchtown, Birkdale and Ainsdale.
Nina Halliwell said: “Vast queues outside Primark today.”
Christina Hartley said: “I shopped today for a few bits, Primark was well organised and had a very small queue at 11am.
“Had to give Sports Direct a miss though, which was what I wanted really, as they have the NHS offer, the queue was huge.
“Thank you to Southport Market for the wool and thread which I needed, nice lunch from Subway.”
Allison Walker said: “Give it time it will all calm down just like any store that’s been open the whole way through. I was at work today but I to will be heading to the stores that have been shut.”
Lesley Walker said: I drove past chapel st this am at 8:30am today and the queue for Primark was really long even at that time. I will wait another month and continue shopping online.”
Michael Walker said: “Just been to Shoezone and Matalan. Daughter outgrown her old clothes and shoes. Just take a mask folks.”
Nena Green said: “Birkdale Village has been amazing in this pandemic. I can’t thank all of the shops I’ve dealt with enough.”
Betty Roberts said: “And Churchtown, some really lovely shops there “
During the pandemic, lots of Southport businesses have launched new local delivery services, which have been warmly welcomed by local residents, who are keen to see them continue.
Nena Green said: “People can support a lot of local businesses by ordering online and not going to the shops. It’s critical we get the economy back but at the same time this virus is still here and we do not want to go back into full lockdown.”
Davids Daley said: “I hope that the local shops continue to offer delivery after the pandemic. It’s been really nice to support local, independent, traders.”
Caitlin Halfpenny said: “I understand that it might be difficult to juggle now that they’re reopening but online ordering from local businesses has been so good the last few weeks! I hope they don’t just stop!”
Lots of changes have been made to shops with social distancing signage, changing rooms closed and people urged not to touch anything they are not buying.
Shirley Wentworth said: “Went to shops around Asda mid afternoon expecting mayhem but hardly anyone was out. Disappointed that Outfit had taken down every mirror and shut down the changing rooms so I was forced to put back the three dresses I was considering buying and walk out empty handed!”
Others urged people to support local independent shops, and to consider what they are buying.
Rebecca Hughes said: “Shop local, but also, shop consciously. I saw the queue outside Sports Direct today, and couldn’t understand what people could possibly be so desperate to buy in there that they felt the need to queue.
“With news reports of people queuing for Primark and other clothes shops around the country, it has been really disheartening to see that the ‘return to normal’ means a return to mindless consumerism. That extra pair of Harry Potter jimjams is not going to fill the empty void in your soul.
“If you want to support the economy, then think about what to actually spend your money on. If the kids have got into nature during this lockdown, don’t cut that enthusiasm off now that the shops have reopened – buy them the equipment to keep them interested in, and connected to, nature (butterfly net? binoculars? RSPB membership? bee hotel if you can’t be bothered making your own?). If you got into that government-sanctioned exercise, or secretly enjoyed not driving everywhere, then invest in a decent bike (not from Halfords, go somewhere proper!). If you cooked at home more often during lockdown, don’t go and spend your money clogging up your arteries at Maccy D’s, go and treat yourself to some decent knives or a new cookbook or a new pan or whatever. But if none of this applies to you, then it is ok to NOT BUY things. You don’t need to rush out and buy three months-worth of tat that you don’t need. Save your money and spend it wisely.”
While many were delighted to see the shops reopen, some raised concerns over social distancing.
Gillo Newsham said: “As someone who has been isolating a lot, it was so busy in town this morning. Hard to social distance. We all need training, I think!”
Jayne Cumnmins said: “Why are most people ignoring the social distancing. Not all shops have markers outside. No markers on the floors by the bus stops causing people to all stand up close together. Too crowded for me.”
Julie Walker said: “Life is far more valuable than possession. Support local businesses if you need to shop but please keep the 2m space and wear a mask if you’re vulnerable over the nose and mouth not your chin! The virus is still spreading so take care and be safe.”
Karen Roberts said: “I feel sorry for local businesses but people are going to flood the shops and people already act like it’s over and meanwhile those sheilding will end up being stuck in for longer.”
While many enjoyed seeing our shops back open again, there are more businesses still preparing for news on when they can open – and we can’t wait.
David Salisbury said: “Now HURRY up with barbers now!”
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