#COVID19 | My Honest Experience of Returning to the High Street

Hello World 💜

Welcome back to my Blog! On the 15th June, in England, ‘non-essential’ shops were finally allowed to open to help “rebuild the economy” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many have still argued that its too soon to go back to normal, others refusing to go out to the High Street until a vaccine has been established or when COVID-19 has been eradicated, whereas others are gleeful in their joy to be able to shop in their favorite stores once again. For someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Asthma, I do have a lot of anxiety with regards to going back to normal life – I mean, my local supermarket in Berkshire has completely failed with regards to maintaining social distancing measures. I’ve genuinely lost count on the number of times my two meter bubble was rudely ignored by other customers, as well as the fact their are less and less people wearing face coverings in my area. So going back to the High Street? I was very much divided on whether it was worth the risk and to even potentially contribute to a second wave of the pandemic. I mean, the images from the 15th June from some store fronts were seriously mind boggling in the stupidity of some who have seem to forgotten that we are still living in a pandemic.

But in one aspect, the government is right in the premise that we as consumers do need to do our part with regards to supporting businesses – but should we risk our health to do so?

Even so, I ventured out to my local High Street Town, armed with my hand sanitizer, gloves and my face mask, and this was the experience that I faced …

Just complete emptiness!

With how the media portrayed the reopening of stores I had seriously expected mass long queues, socially distancing measures not being followed and just pure carnage. In reality, I witnessed the complete opposite and my anxieties of being back in stores were just unnecessary. I mean, my experience in Asda is far worse when it comes to the mass exodus of people in the supermarket on a daily basis.

I would argue though that one of the main reasons why it was so quiet is down to the fact that so many stores still haven’t opened their doors, this isn’t just restaurants, but other stores such as Card Factory, The Works, Clas Olsen, New Look, and Tiger etc. With it being such a rush for employers to make their stores safe it probably wasn’t feasible to get all High Street shops ready for reopening. Which is why so many stores are either doing phase opening or doing a complete reopen from July – unless the company has gone bust like Debenhams and thereby these stores will not be opening unfortunately. The other reason for why the stores were so quiet, in particular in my own hometown is the worry, the stress, the anxiety and concerns with regards to a potential second wave of the pandemic with a rise of infection. These are all healthy concerns to have, but sometimes the risk can be the greatest reward, its more likely that we will be going into one of the worst recessions with the highest amount of unemployment since records began – so by going to the High Street, supporting businesses is one of the small things we can do to help our country and to support those who rely on the money you spend in stores.

If and when you do decide to go back to the High Street, every shop has their own hand sanitizing station and it is very much suggested that you sanitize your hands on entry to each store, some stores such as Primark will have employees asking you to sanitize before being allowed into the shop. Stores as well have a easy to use one way system – for example with Pandora they have a numbered walkway to follow which allows the staff to assist you whilst staying somewhat socially distant. Some stores will have different rules depending on what they sell, some will let you touch merchandise whilst others have a no touch policy unless you are definitely buying that item. However with more larger store fronts it is pretty easy to forget about the layout and to just shop as normal, which is why I would suggest with stores like Primark, Marks and Spencers, Next and other larger department stores to wear disposable gloves if possible because you are more likely to handle more items when it comes to finding clothing sizes etc. so to try and prevent the spread of the virus, using gloves would be a good option to have.

For those who have a lot of anxiety with regards to returning to the High Street, my biggest tip to you is to shop as early as you possibly can, that way you’ll have less interactions with others, you would have a lot more breathing space and be able to enjoy the experience even more so. Even before lockdown, when it came to shopping I would always shop early and to be finished by around mid-day when the majority of others are out and about. Weekends? Anxiety wise, that would be a massive no no for me – weekdays are a heck of lot easier for those who do stress and have major concerns about potential spreading of the coronavirus.

One of the things I loved the most about returning to the High Street were the shop workers, I’ve never in my life seen those who work in retail so welcoming to those in their stores. For someone who has worked in retail for over five years, I know how difficult it can be to work in retail, but I never felt the contempt that many do have. I had so many positive and welcoming reactions from a variety of staff members from all the stores I went into, from Primark to WH Smith, I think this is just down to the idea that life is slowly going back to a sense of normality and if were me going back to work for the first time in three months I’d be pretty happy to have my pre-lockdown life back.

Will I go back to the High Street again? I probably will to be honest, there is only so much you can do with online shopping and I honestly love the social aspect of going into stores, so I do think going again when additional shops have reopened from July will be something I’ll do again. One thing I will say is that for those who are concerned with regards to disability or to even bring their own children back to the shops – I did see some parents with their children and I wouldn’t see any issues with taking your children with you. But it all depends on you, don’t feel ashamed for taking them with you because you know what is best for your health and for the health of your family.

Do you think you’ll be going back to the High Street any time soon? Do you have any concerns? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help ease your worries 💜

I will say, sitting here, typing this blog post in my brand new Primark PJs were well worth the trip!

3 comments

  1. Oh my goodness! Your PJs and mask are too cute! I had the same ideas here in the US. Once some of the clothing stores opened I was worried everyone was going to rush to them. They really aren’t that bad!

    Like

  2. I am so desperate for a primark haul but I’m also liking all the extra money I’ve been saving these last 3 months!

    I am worried about being back out but mainly because my local shopping area is a large city and the stuff I’ve seen online was just horrendous.

    I’ll stay put for now but I’m so jealous of the new pjs!

    Like

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