Covid-19: Abbey Centre and Primark get queue safety notices

Published
Image source, Sunday Life

Improvement notices have been issued to Abbey Centre and its Primark store following long queues at the weekend, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has announced.

Images circulated on social media showed hundreds of people in a queue stretching the length of the centre.

The council said its decision was "in light of the events at the weekend" and followed consultation with the PSNI.

Primark said the safety of staff and customers is its "highest priority".

An improvement notice is issued when it is believed there has been a breach of health and safety laws.

The clothing and homeware retailer said it was working with Abbey Centre management and the council "to help manage queues and ensure safety guidelines are being followed".

"We are closely following all government advice at our re-opened stores and have rigorous health and safety measures in place, including a strict social distancing protocol and limits on the number of customers allowed in store," a spokesperson said.

They added that stores have "dedicated Primark employees and security staff on hand to manage queues".

At the weekend, Primark at Abbey Centre was open for 33 consecutive hours, from 09:00 GMT on Friday to 18:00 on Saturday.

Image source, Sunday Life

Compliance

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said its environmental health team has been liaising with Abbey Centre management "to advise on the measures which need to be put in place to ensure the safety of the public".

The council said it had also provided funding for additional security "to help manage social distancing at the centre", as well as face coverings to be distributed free of charge to shoppers.

A statement said it will continue to work with managers at the centre and Primark "to ensure that barriers, face coverings and any other reasonable assistance is provided to ensure compliance."

"The council will continue to keep the matter under review."

Abbey Centre has been contacted for comment by BBC News NI.