Penneys, the Irish high street fashion retailer, has announced it will reopen its Irish stores from next Friday, June 12th.
However, shopping at the clothing chain will be a vastly different experience from previously.
Strict social distancing protocols are being put in place. These will include limits on the number of customers in store at any one time, as well as the closure of fitting rooms, customer toilets and cafe and beauty concessions. Testers in the health and beauty department will also be removed.
The initial reopening will be confined to stores with street-level access, in line with the government’s reopening roadmap, but stores in shopping centres will also reopen three days later, on June 15th.
Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and employees, while face masks and gloves will be made available to all workers. In a statement, the retailer said “employee and customer safety is the highest priority in our preparations for reopening”.
Hand sanitiser stations, Perspex screens at tills and additional store cleaning, especially for “high frequency touchpoints” such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas, will be among the measures put in place.
When asked about reports people intended to camp outside Penneys, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “I don’t think it seems like a good idea. I hope people wouldn’t need me to tell them that.”
Primark chief executive, Paul Marchant, said: "We know that life for our customers is going to look different for a while. We want our stores to be safe and reassuring places to shop and work."
Mr Marchant conceding that it “might take a little longer to get into our stores”.
"We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in the other markets in Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately."