Calgarians line up to grab items from reopened IKEA

Calgarians braved miserable weather Thursday to walk through the IKEA showroom — and grab some favourites like the Billy bookcase from the marketplace floor.

The furniture retailer opened its doors in Calgary with new health and safety measures implemented

Calgarians lined up Thursday to walk through the reopened IKEA store in southeast Calgary. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Calgarians braved miserable weather Thursday to walk through the IKEA showroom — and grab some favourites like the Billy bookcase from the marketplace floor.

This week, the furniture retailer opened its doors in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Quebec City with some changes.

"Working in line with recommendations from local governments and health authorities, IKEA has implemented enhanced, preventative health and safety measures across the shopping experience," reads a statement on the company's website. 

Those measures include giving staff members masks, putting up plastic barriers at cash registers, and providing sanitization stations throughout the store.

Just before the 10 a.m. opening, dozens waited outside the yellow and blue warehouse, snaking a physically distanced line where many donned masks and some held umbrellas failing due to the windy conditions.

Melanie Hutton said the patio chairs she wanted were out of stock online. When she found out the store opened up again and was carrying a limited number of the chairs, she took her chances. 

'It was so nice'

Although the wait outside wasn't nice, once the automatic doors opened, everything went smoothly.

"Oh my gosh, it was so nice to be in a store that's not a grocery store for the first time in two months," Hutton said. "They've got a lot of staff in there placed strategically with masks on to ensure social distancing."

Lindsey and Garret Stefan were inside to grab something small — pillowcase covers. They had tried the company's click and collect service without any luck.

On its website, IKEA says it has implemented enhanced health and safety measures at its stores amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)

Garret said it felt a little weird to be in a big box store. He said though things looked a little different, shoppers were respectful of distancing and the store seemed to be responsibly implementing new measures.

Garret said while it's nice to see things open, he hopes people think before they rush to shop in person. 

"I think as long as people are needing things from places … for the most part if you can avoid it, try to," he said.

More businesses opening soon

For now, only card payments are allowed at the store. The restaurant and children's play area is closed, and the soft serve and hot dog bistro is open for takeout only.

Online, IKEA asked that only two per household enter the store to shop at a time to limit the number of people inside.

Certain retailers in Calgary, including clothing, furniture and book stores, were allowed to open May 14 as part of Alberta's plans to restart the economy.

Other businesses — like barbershops, salons, restaurants and pubs — will learn Friday whether or not they are allowed to open next week.


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