Hundreds flock to city centre as shops open for the first time since lockdown


Hundreds of people took advantage of the easing of the Government’s lockdown rules today as they visited shops for the first time in months.

Most shops have been closed since the end of March when the country went into lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. However, many stores reopened for the first time this morning – with hundreds of people flocking to Hanley to do a spot of shopping.

Queues formed outside intu Potteries, as well as Primark, TK Maxx and WHSmith’s as eager shoppers waited to get inside.

James and Bridie Burden, aged 28 and 25, from Crewe, brought their four-month-old son Austin out for his first day out since being born.

James said: “It’s been really quiet, we were quite shocked. We needed to get some stuff for the baby as we didn’t expect a pandemic to be on when he was born.

” We’ve been to Primark, H&M and The Entertainer and it was really quiet. We got here at 8.20am as we are from Crewe and wanted to beat the queues.

“It’s felt safe, there’s been lots of staff. We had done a bit of online shopping in lockdown but not a lot as we prefer to see what we’re buying.

“We’ve had a really nice day and it will be even better when all the railings are down and things go back to normal.

“This is the baby’s first day out since he was born in March as a week later everywhere shut down. We were really excited to come out.”

Among the changes shoppers will see in Hanley are hand santisers and social distancing signs urging people to adhere to the 2metre rule. The number of people allowed in a store at any one time has also been limted.

Jennifer Ruston, from Etruria, who is in the queue for the shopping centre said: “I’ve only just got here and I think it’s excellent.

“If it was too busy I was going to go back home, but there’s no problem. I was bored of just shopping in M&S, Poundland and B&M.

“I wanted to go into some different shops like River Island and Topshop. The real shops. I don’t like online shopping because I like to try things on.

“I’ve really missed shopping and I think River Island have missed my money. I was very pleased when they announced the shops were reopening. It’s back to normality.”

And Tina Pugh, aged 46, from Carmountside said: “Primark is the first shop we’ve braved.

“We wanted to come and see what all the changes were. I wasn’t nervous about coming and I feel safe, it’s been really organised.

“I’ve really missed shopping during lockdown and I’ve done too much online spending, but i prefer to come and see and feel the stuff in person.

“I was either going to go Hanley or Cheshire Oaks today but I decided on here as I couldn’t be bothered to go that far.

“Well pop to TK Maxx as well. It’s good that the economy can start to get going again and get back to a sense of normality.”

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Another shopper was Christina Greenway.

Christina, 22, from Bentilee is 27 weeks pregnant. She said: “I’ve come to do some baby shopping.

“We’re going to Primark and will have a look around the shopping centre. We’ve only just got here and the queues aren’t too bad. “I’ve managed to save quite a bit of money during lockdown so I’ve come out to do a bit of spending. It makes a change from staying in all the time.

“I also wanted to come support the smaller businesses that have been struggling during this time. I don’t feel 100% safe though yet.”





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