Covid-19: Woodies DIY to bar under-16s due to social distancing fears
Hardware store is set to reopen on Monday after being closed for the last seven weeks
Woodies DIY in Blanchardstown, Dublin. The chain will not allow under-16s into stores when they reopen on Monday. Photograph: Google Streetview
Woodies hardware store, which is to open its doors for the first time in seven weeks on Monday, has announced that under-16s will not be permitted in their stores due to social distancing concerns.
The DIY chain announced the strict social distancing policy on Twitter: “The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our number one priority. For now, those under 16 are not permitted in our stores, as our colleagues have expressed concerns that social distancing is much harder to adhere to with children in our stores.”
Some customers have expressed concern the decision does not account for single-parent families, saying that for solo parents, it is impossible to shop alone.
[1/3] The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our number one priority. For now those under 16 are not permitted in our stores, as our colleagues have expressed concerns that social distancing is much harder to adhere to with children in our stores.— Woodie's (@WoodiesIreland) May 15, 2020
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Ryan Tubridy show this week, CEO of Woodies Declan Ronayne said: “Our primary focus when we reopen on Monday will be managing queues of people. . . We have a steely determination to keep everyone as safe as we can”.
Mr Ronayne said he was both nervous and excited to reopen, as the recent closure was the longest Woodies had ever been closed.
Minister for Business Heather Humphreys confirmed on Friday that hardware stores, garden centres and farmers markets could reopen from next week as part of the gradual lifting of restrictions.
Many homeware stores had also prepared for reopening on May 18th, including homeware retailer Ikea. However, Ms Humphreys said shops offering homeware as their “main line of business” cannot yet reopen.
Retail Ireland described the Government’s decision as “disappointing”.