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Primark shoppers join early morning queues for Belfast store reopening after coronavirus lockdown

There may not have been the big queues that had been expected but Belfast shoppers were still delighted to see Primark’s two stores in the city centre reopening on Thursday morning.

Those eager to be among the first back in through the doors had begun arriving outside the Castle Street store at 5.30am and they didn’t have too long to wait.

The popular department chain had planned to open 10am but by 8.20am and with around 50 people queued by outside they took the decision to unlock the doors.

Christine McCaw (61) from the Shankill was first person in the queue and top of her shopping list were pyjamas and socks along with some homeware items.

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Christine McCaw from the Shankill was first in the queue
as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Christine McCaw from the Shankill was first in the queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Christine McCaw from the Shankill was first in the queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

“I couldn’t sleep last night because of the heat so I just decided to get up and come down," she said.

“I was expecting a bigger crowd and didn’t imagine that I would be the fist one here.

“I love Primark because you always meet a lot of people in there and the staff are always very friendly and helpful.”

Next to her were mother and daughter Michelle (43) and Rebecca (23) Greer from south Belfast who arrived a few minutes later.

“We need bras, socks, make-up, tan, nails - basically everything I can grab," Michelle said.

“I’ve always shopped at Primark so the last few weeks without it have been awful.

“I haven’t bought a new pair of pyjamas since it closed because I wouldn’t buy them anywhere else so I need about eight pairs.

“I wasn’t going to come down becuse I thought there would be huge crowds when we came around the corner but thankfully it’s not too bad.

“I’m glad I came,” she added.

Over recent weeks Primark staff have been taking extra time to make their outlets ‘Covid-ready’ and customers now have a completely different shopping experience to the one they left behind when they last entered stores pre-lockdown back in March,

First there are separate entrances and exits with staff keeping count of how many customers come in and out and blue bubbles on the ground reminding everyone to stay two metres apart.

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Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Inside there are floor markers and other guidance signage, perspex screens at checkouts and aisles designed to help maintain a two-metre distance between shoppers and staff.

Christina Robinson (25), from the Shankill, dragged her sister Nicole (20) along and admitted she had been preparing for this day for a very long time.

“We have been missing getting our bras, pants, socks and jammies — just all the girlie things,” she said.

“I spent £60 but I’m heading around the corner to stock up for my three kids. I’m so happy Primark is back — it feels like a bit of normality at last.

“It was really well organised inside with everyone staying away from each other,” Christina added.

Seventh in the queue since 6.30am was Emma McStravick (31) from Belfast who had taken the day off work especially.

“My daughter Meabh had me up at the crack of dawn to get into town to stock up on the essentials,” she said.

“I’ve spent about £100 but I still have to visit the kidswear store so that could mean the same amount again.

“I thought the queues were going to be really bad but it’s all been really organised. I’ve never been in and out of Primark so quickly in my life.”

Also raising their shutters today are Primark’s second city centre outlet at Fountain House along with stores in Londonderry and Omagh.

Shopping centre-based units in Ballymena, Lisburn, Newry, Newtownabbey and Newtownards will follow suit on Monday.

Shoppers flock to Primark Belfast reopening [Photos] Close

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Sisters Christina and Nicole Robinson from the Shankill as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Sisters Christina and Nicole Robinson from the Shankill as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Christine McCaw from the Shankill was first in the queue
as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Christine McCaw from the Shankill was first in the queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Number five in the queue was Karen Magee from east Belfasas Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Number five in the queue was Karen Magee from east Belfasas Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Friends Eimear Maguire from Lisburn and Amy Jackson from the Antrim Road as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Friends Eimear Maguire from Lisburn and Amy Jackson from the Antrim Road as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Seventh in the queue were Emma McStravick from Belfast and her daughter Meabh as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Seventh in the queue were Emma McStravick from Belfast and her daughter Meabh as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers queue as Primark in Belfast city centre reopens on June 18th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

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