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How Suffolk shops are preparing for life after lockdown

PUBLISHED: 19:33 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:33 29 May 2020

Luke Hayes , Homewares Manager at Glasswells , preparing the new screens at the pay point  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Luke Hayes , Homewares Manager at Glasswells , preparing the new screens at the pay point Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

Businesses across Suffolk are preparing to reopen after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were further loosened this week.

Andrea Johnston , General Manager of Glasswells is looking forward to reopening  the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAndrea Johnston , General Manager of Glasswells is looking forward to reopening the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Across the county, shops have been preparing to welcome people back in a socially distanced manner.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced that non-essential retail businesses would return in phases throughout June.

MORE: Cineworld plans to reopen by July

Customers will use hand sanitizer when they enter the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCustomers will use hand sanitizer when they enter the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

On June 1, outdoor markets and car dealerships can reopen. Then on June 15, all other non-essential retail can reopen – such as shops selling books, clothes and electronics.

Some businesses, such as family-owned homeware chain Glasswells, are able to open before June because of the types of products they sell.

The company is reopening its stores across Suffolk at 10am today. Paul Glasswell, managing director, said: “We are delighted to have been given the go ahead to reopen our stores in Bury, Ipswich and Haverhill this weekend, after what has been a very long ten week closure.

Andrea Johnston, General Manager of Glasswells next to their new signage Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAndrea Johnston, General Manager of Glasswells next to their new signage Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We have worked hard over the last few weeks to ensure that we are able to maintain and encourage social distancing within our stores, as well as having the necessary protective equipment and sanitisers on hand so that we can be confident that both our customers and colleagues will be safe.”

Ipswich clothing store, Coes, plan to reopen on June 16.

The store has been reorganised to make social distancing possible.

Fiona Coe, the company’s marketing manager, said: “We’ve reconfigured every area in the shop to make sure that there are two metre passing areas.

Andrea Johnston , General Manager of Glasswells is looking forward to reopening  the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAndrea Johnston , General Manager of Glasswells is looking forward to reopening the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“That has meant taking out fixtures and fitting and moving tables to give people the space to move around the store.”

The back door of the store will act as an entrance, and the front door will be the exit. A one-way system will also be used on the stores staircases.

But the services Coes offers, including alterations, will continue.

James Dickinson,  working in new PPE gear at Glasswells  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJames Dickinson, working in new PPE gear at Glasswells Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Find all of our coronavirus coverage here.

Mrs Coe said: “Our changing rooms will be open because we don’t have rows, we just have individual cubicles. They’ll be cleaned after every single use.

“Anything that has been tried on and not purchased will be taken away and put on a rail with all of our ‘quarantined’ merchandise. It then won’t be returned to the shop floor for 72 hours.”

James Dickinson,  working in new PPE gear at Glasswells  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJames Dickinson, working in new PPE gear at Glasswells Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The reopened store will also operate shorter opening hours.

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More space has been created in the reception area making it safe for staff and customers Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMore space has been created in the reception area making it safe for staff and customers Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Customers will now follow a one way system around the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCustomers will now follow a one way system around the store Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


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