As lockdown rules are becoming more and more relaxed (which is a whole new level of anxiety, nerves but also excitement) we are able to start enjoying a certain level of normality. Part of this relaxing of rules, is that a couple of weeks ago the shops opened. So for those serial shoppers, retail lovers and fashionistas this is brilliant news as they can so the long awaited post-lockdown shopping trip. And for shop owners, big or small, this is a chance to recover and try to survive this pandemic.
However I know for a lot of people, this is extremely nerve-racking. The thought of physically going in shopping might be uncomfortable. But the other day I braved it and went into my local city to see what the shops were like. I wanted to write this post to reassure people and let you know what it genuinely is like in the shops. So if you are thinking of venturing in the shops, whether thats because you urgently need something, or because you fancy something to do here’s what you need to know.
Without any surprise, the high street won’t look like what it looked like before lockdown. And I think thats what shocked me the most. There are new measures in place, social distancing rules apply and not all shops are actually open yet/lots have shut down. Treat this post as an insight into what it might feel like if you want to go for a little shopping spree. However if you don’t feel comfortable venturing out yet, then take your time and don’t feel like you have to do anything.
I can’t vouch for what everyones local high street or shopping centre will look like however the general rules apply over most. Most shopping centres will have a one way system going around so that the flow of shoppers will all travel in the same direction. There will be hand sanitiser stations at all entrances to the shopping centre, and by the car park paying machines. Any seated cafe areas were taken away and not all stores were open. There was probably about 60% of the stores open with those like Quiz, and Cath Kidston to name a few which have unfortunately now closed.
I also know from looking on social media, and from the first day stores opened it makes it seem like the stores and shopping malls will be packed. That there will be queues that are hours long. But I can say that for me, this was not the case. It wasn’t quiet however it wasn’t ‘as normal’ and the only queue we had to stand in was for Primark which was literally a minute wait if that.
When you go to enter a shop there will be a one way system in and out. So you can enter say on the right hand side and leave on the left hand side. Like I said before any seating areas have been removed, so you can’t just hang around any more. For example, before COVID, when I was at uni, my friends and I would sit in the Starbucks seating area in the middle of the shopping mall for lunch. You can’t now do that, or wait outside of shops as it blocks the way for people to walk through the one way system.
Some store opening times have changed too, so make sure to double check before you go in as to what times the shops are staying open until. Some places are doing staggered opening times so be aware of that. There are lots of floor markings as well to keep people moving in the correct flow.
Shops have gone all out to ensure that customers can feel as safe as possible on their post-lockdown shopping trips. Like mentioned above there is a one way in and one way out system and there is one member of staff on the doors at a time. They are there to record how many are in the shop at one time, as each shop as a restriction depending on the space. They also are there to make you feel comfortable and explain their new systems.
Most shops have hand sanitiser on the door so that you can use, some shops are enforcing it a must to use it before entering like Primark and Next, and some are placing it there as an option. No shops in my shopping centre were enforcing face masks, but of course that is optional, and some shops have been requiring staff to wear shields or masks.
They changing rooms in stores will not be open. Well at least in my shopping centre they weren’t. I have seen some stores might be doing this and then quarantining the items afterwards, however I think the general consensus is that they aren’t open. To be honest, this didn’t affect me that much because I much prefer taking items home to try on anyway!
A lot of shops have increased there contactless spending amounts to £45. In my opinion this still is quite low especially as a pair of jeans in Topshop could cost more than that. However this is totally based on security and legalities for that store. H&M had separate queue for those paying with cash and those paying with card, but some stores are only excepting cards so make sure you have one with you.
There are also signs on the floor to remind you of social distancing, and new queuing systems for the tills with spots marked out on them allowing you to stay 2m away from each other in the queue.
I feel a little bit mixed about it! I found it some what nice because it brung back a bit of normality for me. Before COVID I would be in the shopping centre nearly everyday as my university is right next door – not good for the bank account haha! And being able to do something that felt partly normal was quite nice. However I totally get why not everyone would feel comfortable. Despite the efforts, not everyone will follow the one way system, and sometimes if you want to walk past someone, socially distancing doesn’t happen.
But I think its about being aware and staying safe. Use the hand sanitiser, wear a mask if it makes you feel more comfortable, chose times that might be quieter e.g before closing or just as the shops open. make sure to wash your hands frequently and use be personally aware of the space around you. But if you think its too much of a risk then you don’t go in.
I hope this has given you a bit more of an insight into what your post-lockdown shopping trip might look like. I think at some point, things will have to return to ‘normal’. For me, I hadn’t really been out anywhere until a few weeks ago. And its been nice to get out somewhere, whilst being safe. How do you feel about going to the shops?
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The situation there is really similar to the one in Spain! I went shopping last week and I couldn’t try on the clothes I was going to buy and we had to follow the arrows in order to walk in the mall. Also, we had to wear masks. I don’t mind these new rules as long as they allow me to do “normal life” activities.
Yeah we will have to start wearing masks from the 24th!
I haven’t had the chance to go out to the shops yet really, It’s going to be so strange! I can’t wait to be able to go for a meal or a few drinks with my friends without having to worry though it will be so nice to get back to normal in the future!!
Amber x | https://amberosullivanblog.wordpress.com/
Hope you like it when you get round to it x
Great bit of insight into what it’s like to shop! The closest shopping centre to me is about an hour away so I don’t shop often but it’s great to know what post-lockdown life looks like. I’m most excited about finally being able to eat and go out haha. Lovely post!
Anika | chaptersofmay.com
I wet out to eat the other day and it felt so good! Never taking that for granted again!
It the same with stores in my area as well! I went yesterday and fitting rooms were closed, with traffic being directed in one direction – although most people didn’t really adhere to the rules! It was still nice to get out and shop though!
I think its easier for some stores for there not to be a one way system, because I feel the pain of being stuck behind someone browsing slow ahaha!
This is great for people who might be feeling anxious about going out. I went to the shops a couple of weeks ago and I was really nervous at first but it was fine and it turned out to be pretty quiet. It was nice to do something normal again.
Yes I so agree!
Haven’t actually been able to venture out to a shopping centre yet, and wondered what it was like. So thanks for sharing, sounds like it’s (on the most part) ok!
Katie | katieemmabeauty.com
It was good!
Thank you for sharing this – I’ve yet to venture into high street shops yet and while I’m desperate for my Primark fix I’m still very anxious about the whole thing! This has made me feel much better 🙂 x
I think it was worth doing it. I felt anxious but it also was quite nice to have some sort of normality back.
Good to see that you’ve had an overall positive experience shopping! I literally don’t think I’ve been in a shop since COVID started so I’m excited for things to ease a little so I can finally head back to tk maxx!!
Yesss go girl!
This was really interesting! I haven’t ventured as far as a shopping centre/ high street yet and I don’t think I will for another few weeks yet. But all of the photos I’ve seen online have been of insane queues and crowding so it’s nice to know it wasn’t as crazy as that. I’m forever back and forth looking and the same stuff when I’m shopping though so I’m sure I’d have to remind myself of the one way system every 5 seconds x
Yes no it definitely isn’t like that! I think that might have happened in London on the very first day of opening but since I have never experienced any queues or issues.
I haven’t been back to the city too since March and I think I will be surprised when I finally return to my work desk. Nice to read this post and be aware of the changes happening.
Thanks for reading!
This was so interesting to read and it’s so good to hear that stores are putting measures in place to try keep everyone safe! To be honest I don’t feel ready yet to venture out to go shopping and if I’m honest I don’t even miss it that much either x
Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.co.uk
Thats completely fair enough! My town has quite a low rate at the moment so I felt a bit safer!
I’m far too nervous to go to the shops yet but I’m still incredibly ill. What baffles me, is the lack of people wearing masks – out of respect if nothing else, people should wear them. At least the shops are handling things better than the pubs, which I think should be closed again x
Thats understandable! But from the 24th they are being made mandatory to be worn in shops which is a good thing! But I actually work behind a bar and the measures that actually have to be put in place for pubs to open are actually quite extensive, and you probably wouldn’t know unless you see how much they have had to change. There are large screens up, one way systems, regular cleaning, contactless payments, tables spread out and outdoor seating provided. Its much more down to the people who go rather than the pubs. A lot of people can go and be sensible, but it just takes a few people to ruin it. But at the end of the day pubs have to be strict or else they will get shut down.
The measures most shops are taking is amazing. It’s just a shame not everyone can follow the rules and potentially ruin the experience for someone else. I don’t ever really go shopping anyway but I’m sure I’ll experience this at some point soon. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Yeah its frustrating but I guess you can’t control what other people do!
I hope everyone manages to shop successfully, all while staying safe 😊
🌿 Marissa Belle × marsybun.com 🌿
I haven’t been out yet but I am glad to see the variety of safety measures put in place. Thanks for sharing xx
Thank you for reading!
Thanks for sharing your experience hun! Stay safe and have fun shopping!
This was really informative, thank you for sharing what post-lockdown retail experiences look like as it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I can’t wait to browse a bookstore again but I’m intimidated by having to get public transport to and from our local shopping centres. Hopefully in a few months things will be able to ease just a little bit more which will be nice!
Hayley | happilyeverhomebody.com
I haven’t done public transport yet, but I will be in a few weeks. I have been driving instead.
Thanks for sharing! I haven’t been out shopping yet but Philly is just now starting to open retail!
Today was the first day I plucked up some courage and actually went and did my hair <3
Thanks for these great tips on getting back to shopping in store! I missed doing this.
We are no more in lockdown in Switzerland. I haven’t seen any queues and I don’t think I would queue unless it was for groceries. It’s a strange feeling and the atmosphere in the shops are so different. Thanks for sharing!
I didn’t queue for any of the shops and the only one that had a queue was Apple as they were doing appointments.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Overall, my city has been doing a great job with re-opening stores and taking extra pre-cautions and felt safe. However, for my own safety, I’ve been sparingly going to shop.
Thats fair enough! Very much depends where you live!
I have only really ventured in a few shops, and was pleasantly suprised with how they have adapted to the new ‘normal’. I also don’t feel like I need new things as much since lockdown either, so this is a good thing for my bank balance, but I guess not so good for the shops. I think i will still be going to the shops cautiously, mainly because I work in heathcare, and don’t want to put my patients at an increased risk.
Thanks for sharing your experience, it sounds like things are on the up!
Thats fair enough girl! I think now that face masks are becoming mandatory in shops it might be better too!
Such a great rundown- I think we’re all wondering what to expect when it’s inevitably safe enough to get out and about!
Le Stylo Rouge
Yes! I hope it has made it easier for some people who might be considering it!
This was very interesting and informative. We are starting to open up here in NY, and I left the house for the first time last week and met up with a friend we went to a park and then got food out doors and then went to the docks were there were not a lot of people. But have not yet shopped in stores.
That sounds lovely though! I guess it will be different than the UK though!
Very similar with local shops here. Glad there are measures in place that allow us to go outside and do some “normal” activities again!
Yes! Brings back a bit of normality!
I’ve been shopping a couple of times since the shops reopened over here in Singapore. For us, it’s not one way but there is only one point of entry and exit. Underpasses that connect malls close at an earlier timing (I reached a dead end because the doors were close past 9pm lol). Hand sanitisers everywhere is true for me too. I think the malls in the city area in general are a lot quieter, but surprisingly, that is not the case for malls in the suburbs/heartland area! They’re almost as crowded as they were before, and that’s probably due to many reasons (e.g. work from home, everyone’s under the impression that the city area would be crowded). Thanks for sharing!
AH its great to hear about what it is like elsewhere! Thank you for reading!