B&Q workers wear visors, markings keep shoppers 6ft apart and payments go contactless only as branches reopen – The Sun

B&Q has reopened all of its UK branches – and strict new coronavirus measures enforced in the DIY chain's stores could spell the future of shopping.

Staff now wear visors and are protected by screens around tills, while shoppers must follow a one-way system and can disinfect their trolleys at special anti-bac stations outside branches.

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Customers can arrive in pairs to browse the aisles – but markings have been laid out on floors to keep people 6ft away from one another.

A specially designed queuing area also ensures customers have space.

Shoppers must follow arrows that guide them around the shop floor.

Sanitiser wipes are provided for trolley handles outside the stores.

Protective perspex screens will keep till workers safe, while customers can only buy items using contactless payments.


  • The numbers of customers within stores could be limited and shoppers should be able to remain two meters apart when inside
  • Staff could meet customers at the door to explain the rules, while signs outside should also give instructions
  • Non-contact stock delivered could be considered
  • Cleaning stations could be set up inside shops and by areas which get a lot of contact, like door handles
  • Floor markings could be used around the shop floor and till area to help customers socially distance
  • Contactless payments will be encouraged, and self-checkout areas likely cleaned regularly

    It comes as businesses around the country begin to reopen under the coronavirus lockdown.

    Supermarkets have already put into practice social distancing measures to keep staff and customers safe.

    But it's thought high street shops could ban couples and close down changing rooms when restrictions ease.

    Social distancing guidelines have been published by the British Retail Consortium to help shops when they start to reopen.

    It says although there isn’t a date for “non-essential” shops to open, they need to be ready with proper preparations in place.

    Shoppers may need to buy without trying anything on, and will only be able to enter shops alone.

    Toilets in stores could be put out of use, with regular hand santiser stations dotted around to keep everyone safe.


    In the B&Q branch in Chiswick, London, yesterday, employees manned the entrance to the store and warned customers they'd only be allowed to go inside with a trolley.

    Inside the store, regular announcements were being made about social distancing.

    Mo Rad, 67 who came to buy fixing grout and tiles, told the Daily Mail he suffers from leukaemia.

    He said: "I wasn't nervous at all, even though I really shouldn't be out.

    "But I'm having some work done at home and needed to buy this material.

    "B&Q have arranged this whole thing very well.

    "You can clean your trolley with sanitiser when you go in and it's easy to keep your distance."

    The DIY store initially closed its doors on March 25 – but bosses said yesterday that its 288 stores are now open to the public.

    It comes days after the chain's decision to reopen 130 stores saw huge queues forming outside shops in Bristol, Watford and Edinburgh.

    The hardware chain had been named as an "essential retailer" but was initially operating an online-only service.

    At the start of the coronavirus shutdown, customers could only order items for home delivery or click and collect from B&Q’s website DIY.com.

    For click and collect orders, customers were instructed to wait for their items outside the front of closed stores.

    Since the start of lockdown, a number of high street chains have started reopening branches, including:

    • Burger King
    • Costa
    • Five Guys
    • Greggs
    • Homebase
    • KFC
    • Nando's
    • Pret a Manger
    • TGI Fridays
    • Wagamama
    • Wickes

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    B&Q reopened its first 14 stores to the public on April 14.

    Another 61 branches opened on April 22, followed by an additional 80 stores on April 23 and another 130 shops on April 29.

    The chain's CEO Graham Bell said: “Our highest priority is to keep our colleagues safe at work and our customers safe while shopping.

    “In all our stores, we have strict social distancing measures in place.

    “Whether shopping in our stores or online, we continue to ask all our customers to follow the Government’s social distancing guidelines and to shop responsibly only when they need to.”

    The retailer has temporarily stopped services such as kitchen and bathroom design, paint mixing, timber cutting and key cutting.

    Earlier this month, B&Q customers were left waiting more than an hour to get on to the company's website, with hundreds of thousands looking to buy products this weekend.

    The retailer saw massive demand for its stock, with online shoppers told they faced a wait of at least 60 minutes before making click and collect orders.


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