It’s “chaos” in stores across Greater Manchester today as eager shoppers make last-minute trips ahead next week’s national lockdown.
There were long queues in the Trafford Centre this afternoon while lines of queuing people were pictured outside Smyths toy store in Bolton.
Intu confirmed the Trafford Centre was at full capacity at around 1.30pm with queues operating on a one-in-one-out basis.
One shopper described the queues outside Primark as “chaos” as video footage showed a long line of people around Barton Square.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced England would be plunged back into a national lockdown on Saturday night following a rise in coronavirus cases across the country.
From Thursday, all non-essential shops will be forced to close and will not reopen until December 2.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News , one Trafford Centre shopper said she believes people are panic-buying for Christmas before the stores close again.
“The queue for Primark this morning was snaking around one half of Barton Square with people trying to list off Christmas presents to get before the shops close,” she said.
“They’re not currently queuing to get into the main centre but barriers are in place ready.
“Everyone seems to be in rush and panicking.”
Alisha Pasquill, from Blackrod, spotted a long line of people queuing outside Smyths Toy Store in Middlebrook, Bolton while out buying dog food this morning.
She said: “I was queuing to go to Pets at Home for essential food for my dog Bailey and I noticed the queue for Smyths oy shop quite long for Middlebrook in Bolton.”
“I shared it on Facebook to make people aware of the situation.”
In Tweets sent out by the Intu this afternoon, staff warned Trafford Centre shoppers of queues as customers continued to flock to the building.
They read: “To help us safely manage capacity, you will be asked to queue to get into the centre this afternoon
“Please come prepared with your umbrella and some warm clothing. We’ll get you in as quickly as it’s safe to do so!
“Some of our car parks are currently full and there may be queues to get into the centre today.
“Please bear with us and we’ll get you in as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
Pictures sent to the Manchester Evening News also appeared to show large groups gathering at the New Smithfield Market in Openshaw this morning.
One shopper claims many customers were not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The lockdown, starting from Thursday, will last for a month until December 2, subject to a vote in the House of Commons.
It is hoped the stringent move will control the spread of coronavirus across the country.
Similar to measures in Tier 3, households will not be allowed to mix indoors, expect for childcare and other forms of support, and people will be told to stay at home other than for certain exemptions.