PRIMARK has been slammed over fears its 24/7 opening hours this week may cause a third spike in Covid-19 cases.
Hungry shoppers flooded 11 stores around the UK for one day of round the clock hours on Wednesday – the same day coronavirus lockdown 2 was lifted in England.
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But critics on social media said the queues of bargain hunters taking advantage of the move could spark a third wave of the virus in England – with one saying it could cause cases to rise.
Kim Leppington, wrote in response to pictures of hundreds of people crowding outside of the Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham this week.
She told Birmingham Live: “Here comes another lockdown. Why can’t everyone just stick together.
“People are dying to see their loved ones people are struggling losing their jobs and so on.”
In Newcastle bargain-hunters had waited in a six hour queue to get straight in at midnight.
A stunned witness said: “Can’t believe what I am seeing at 1am on Facebook live… People standing in three hour queues to get into the metro Primark.”
Another wrote: “In Newcastle there is people waiting in a six hour queue at 12.30am to shop in Primark…. The shop is also open literally all day tomorrow.”
It comes after communities minister Robert Jenrick announced the 24-hour rules earlier this week in an effort to spread out shopping times and lessen crowds.
The current lockdown tiers in force across England
But hundreds of people rushed to the retailer – which does not have an online store – with some waiting for over two hours to get inside after queuing past midnight.
Hordes of people were seen braving the cold as they queued outside Primark Lakeside in West Thurrock, desperate to work through their Christmas shopping lists.
All other Primark stores will trade until at least 8pm on weekdays right up to Christmas Eve.
Dubbed ‘Wild Wednesday’, shoppers queued in the dark from 5am for the first chance of Christmas shopping in other high street stores.
Primark CEO, Paul Marchant, said: “We are delighted to re-open our stores in England, with longer shopping hours to give our customers more time to safely do their festive shopping.
“All of our extensive safety measures remain in place to help ensure shopping at Primark is an enjoyable, safe experience for everyone. I would like to take this opportunity to say a heart-felt thank you to the NHS and all keyworkers.”
However, the queues were caused by the company’s strict social distancing measures rather than overcrowding in the stores.
A total 11 of Primark stores opened from 7am on Wednesday 2 December through till normal closing time on Thursday 3 December.
They included: Trafford, York Monks Cross, Leeds White Rose, Bluewater, Lakeside, Birmingham Fort, Meadowhall, Stratford, White City, Charlton, and the Gateshead Metrocentre.
Primark has been contacted for comment.
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