Long queues in Huntingdon as non-essential shops reopen after lockdown

Huntingdon High Street

Huntingdon High Street PICTURE: Archant - Credit: Archant

Many non-essential shops have opened their doors today, with queues over an hour long.

Shoppers outside TK Max

Shoppers outside TK Max PICTURE: Archant - Credit: Archant

The longest queue was outside the Sports Direct store in St Benedict’s Court, which saw shoppers having to wait an average of 90 minutes to enter the store.

There were also lengthy queues outside TK Max.

One shopper standing outside Sports Direct said: “I have been standing in this queue for 45 minutes and I am only halfway through. I think I’ve probably got another 45 minutes to go.

“My daughter is getting tired now, but needs new clothes, at least the weather is nice.”

Huntingdon High Street

Huntingdon High Street PICTURE: Archant - Credit: Archant

Other shops such as TK Max, Poundland and Wilkos also had long queues outside today, with up to a half an hour wait time. Poundland and Wilkos have been open during lockdown as they both sell food and essential items.

Shop attendants outside TK Max, welcomed customers into the store with masks on and there were hand sanitisers at the front entrance of the store.

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People were queuing using a two-metre distance rule.

One shopper standing outside TK Max told us: “It feels morally wrong to be here, although we are allowed to, it’s just way too busy and I don’t think the social distancing is really happening, as people are walking past each other.

“The spaces between the queues aren’t that far away from each other, so you have to walk through everyone.”

“We are shopping more in terms of mental health today, just to feel normal and to be able to go into the shops.”

A large queue also formed outside the Next in Huntingdon today, June 16, as they reopened their doors to the public for the first time in nearly three months.

The store manager Kath Parkinson greeted customers into the store, wearing a visor and had assistance from other staff members to ensure people were keeping two metres apart.

A large sign was put up in front of the store telling customers that there was a maximum capacity of 21 people in the store at any one time.

As more non-essential shops reopen Huntingdonshire District Council have started to spray paint orange two metre distance markers outside of shops on high streets to ensure people socially distance.

Platters, the sandwich shop and others on Huntingdon High Street already have the markers in place.

Sue Wing, manager of BID Huntingdon, said: “There will be stencil markers in place on the floor outside all shops and then there will be an end marker where you cannot queue behind this point, so that the queues will not get too long.”

“We have not put too many restrictions in place at this point as we would like to see how things go.”

St Ives town centre had a different atmosphere to Huntingdon’s town centre on Modnay, it was a lot quieter and stores such as Fat Face had not reopened.

There were also red blocks to widen the pavements and separate the pavement from the road.

St Ives town mayor, Jonathan Pallant, said: “Huntingdonshire District Council has expanded the pavements, giving you twice as much space to be able to queue and to walk. Which means no on-street parking in Market Hill.

“We want shoppers to shop with confidence that they will be safe.”