The DIY chain B&Q opens one of Teesside’s branches to the public with a range of security measures in place

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On Wednesday, the B&Q branch in Portrack reopened.

The Portrack Lane store had a small queue of customers waiting outside, some wearing masks and gloves, when the DIY chain opened at 8:00 a.m.

B&Q re-opened 14 stores this weekend, saying it was able to “follow best practices” after seeing how other key retailers “supported social distancing in their stores” .

Security measures have been introduced, which include a limit of 50 people in the store at all times and are “similar to shopping in a supermarket”.

The store won’t take any money either – just card and contactless payments at the moment.



Strict security measures have been put in place

Staff received gloves and visors to wear and Plexiglas screens were added in front of the boxes.

Buckets were placed on the conveyor belt so that staff had limited interaction with customers.

There are also marks on the floor to make sure customers respect the two-meter social distance rule.

He has also banned kitchen and bathroom design services, mixing paint, cutting wood and cutting keys for the time being.

Some of the store’s first customers were seen buying paint on Wednesday.



Some aisles have been closed

A cleaning station was located at the front of the store, so customers could wipe their cart before shopping.

The commercial entrance and normal entrance are open to customers and signs have been installed, asking people to keep a safe distance.

B&Q has yet to confirm whether its store in Skippers Lane will reopen soon, but there are reports it may open by Thursday.

Despite strict security measures, a worker told Teesside Live earlier this week that staff felt “extremely stressed” about having to deal with members of the public during the pandemic.

They warned that once the store was opened, people would just come “because we are open.”

A B&Q spokesperson said, “As an essential retailer, we are committed to providing the best possible service to meet customer needs for home improvement during these difficult times, while ensuring the safety of customers and colleagues.

“After watching other essential retailers support social distancing in their stores, we are now following their best practices and reopening some stores with strict social distancing measures in place.

“As with shopping in a supermarket, we strictly limit the number of customers in the store at any time. As a result, customers usually line up before entering stores.

“All stores have a designated queue area outside and these have two meter markers to help remind everyone to respect each other’s personal space.

“To further support social distance, we have two-meter floor markers throughout the store and have also installed plexiglass screens at checkouts. “



Customers can visit the store again; B&Q has not confirmed the reopening of the Skippers Lane branch

Only “the products you can buy and take to the store during the day” are available to customers, they added.

“Our services such as kitchen and bathroom design, paint mixing, wood cutting and key cutting are not available at the moment and for the moment we only accept payment by card and contactless.

“We are pleased to report that in stores reopened as part of the trial, customers have complied with our social distancing guidelines, helping us to provide a safe shopping environment for customers and colleagues.

“We are reviewing the current openings before making any decisions regarding the reopening of several stores, including B&Q Middlesbrough.”

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