Leeds Primark sees long queues as stores reopen in city centre
Hundreds flocked to Primark and Sports Direct in Leeds on Monday as shops reopened for the first time in three months.
Queues snaked around buildings as shoppers waited to get into their favourite stores, which have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced back in March that non-essential retailers like fashion shops could reopen on June 15.
However, strict social distancing measures had to be in place if stores wanted to reopen.
Shopping centres like White Rose, Victoria Leeds and Trinity Leeds implemented new rules such as one-way systems, maximum capacities and two metre spacing.
The most popular store on Monday was Primark, which saw queues that went from the Trinity Leeds entrance on Albion Street to Bond Street.
Shoppers Amy Williams, 29, and Mary Williams, 57, travelled from Wakefield and queued for Primark for "about an hour".
Amy said: "We were here before it opened and we were right around the corner but it went pretty quick and we were only about an hour."
Mary added: "It is my favourite shop. It's so cheap and you couldn't shop online during lockdown.
"You just get so much for your money.
"We got t-shirts, dresses, shorts, hoodies and tops.
"We've come into Leeds as I work here anyway so I know that this one is a lot better and bigger than the Wakefield shop."
Rachel Barker, 52, travelled to Leeds from Bradford in the car and had just joined the Primark queue.
Rachel said: "I just love Leeds. There's just more choice.
"I've just joined the queue - I must be mad.
"I've only got limited parking and to be honest I'm worried if I'm wasting my parking standing here waiting in this queue.
"It has got to be the worst queue in Leeds, it is certainly the busiest.
"There's nothing in particular I want from Primark, I just wanted to feel a bit normal again after months of not being able to go anywhere or do anything.
"I don't want to spend too much, I just needed to get out really.
"It is just that sense of feeling like we are slowly getting back to normal."
Sports Direct was also very busy and by the afternoon queues going up New Briggate and most of the way down Mark Lane.
Mohammed Askari, 28, from Leeds, said: "I'm in the queue because I want to exchange my shoes.
"I bought them the day before lockdown and I want to know if they accept exchanges. I've been waiting three months to change them.
"That's the only reason I am in town today.
"I wasn't expecting this level of queues. I have been queuing for 70 minutes and I'm only half way. "
Rhys O'Brian, 22, a medicine student at University of Leeds, went to Sports Direct due to the 50 per cent discount for NHS workers.
He and his friends only queued for around 30 minutes.
Rhys said: "We've come out because it's doing the discount because we all have our NHS cards.
"It's really, really cheap so we just stocked up.
"We got stuff for the gym, some tennis balls, just anything that we needed.
"There's a huge queue outside but there's not many people inside so there is loads of stock left."
Michelle Richie, 46, from Leeds, came into Leeds city centre with her family.
Michelle: "We just came out for the break. It is nice to be out finally and just shop around.
"This is one of the first times we've been able to come out as a family. I went by myself to do the supermarket shops while my daughter stayed home with the kids.
"There's some sales on in places like NEXT and of course, we went to the toy shop.
"It has been nice for the young ones and the sunshine today is quite good as well."
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