B&Q is open in Northampton again 10 days after click and collect chaos

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DIY chain vows to enforce social distancing and warns customers to be ready to queue

B&Q reopened its Northampton DIY store today less than a fortnight after massive queues sent its click and collect service into meltdown.

Bosses say there will be strict social distancing controls and limits on the number of people allowed in store at any one time.

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The Towcester Road store is one of 125 in the chain which have reopened after trial runs at 14 stores across the UK. B&Q's Wellingborough store is also open.

A B&Q spokesman said: "As an essential retailer, we’ve watched other essential retailers support social distancing in their stores and are now in a position to follow best practice and reopen stores while keeping our colleagues and customers safe.

"Similar to shopping at supermarkets, we’ve introduced social distancing controls and we’re also strictly limiting the number of customers in store at any one time so you may find you need to queue if you visit the store.

"To help remind everyone to respect each other’s personal space, we have two-metre floor markers throughout the store and also perspex screens at our checkouts.

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"At these re-opened stores, customers can purchase products that are available for takeaway in store on the day. However, services such as kitchen and bathroom design, paint mixing, timber cutting and key cutting are not available for the time being. We are accepting card, gift card and contact-less payments only.

Huge queues as online customers struggle to get their goods at B&Q over EasterHuge queues as online customers struggle to get their goods at B&Q over Easter
Huge queues as online customers struggle to get their goods at B&Q over Easter

But we are also urging all customers to follow the government’s social distancing guidelines and to shop responsibly only for what is necessary."

Staff at B&Q in Northampton were verbally abused by customers as hundreds turned up to collect online orders over the Easter weekend.

Many cars that arrived at the Towcester Road site were turned away due to the high demand and queues stretched back nearly a mile on Saturday lunchtime.

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Natalie Whitestone, whose husband works at the hardware giant, said he was called a 'fat ****' and shouted at by customers waiting for compost on Friday.

That prompted struggling staff to raise concerns about being over-worked while the company furloughed nearly half of employees and accuse greedy bosses of "putting profit before people". Some claimed they had suffered anxiety attacks after being abused.

B&Q closed at the end of March after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown measures in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Hardware stores were included on a list of essential retailers that were allowed to carry on trading. Smaller shops such as Wilko and B&M have stayed open but giants B&Q, Wickes and Homebase moved their businesses online.

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