Eager to get your Ikea fix once again? The Swedish furniture chain is beginning to reopen some of its stores around the world, but you'll have to pack your patience.
On Monday, Ikea reopened 19 stores in England and Northern Ireland and shoppers came out in droves, leading to massive lines and wait times of up to three hours. Photos from Monday's reopening show huge lines wrapping around store parking lots, and signs instructed shoppers to maintain at least 2 meters of space (6.5 feet) between each other.
Shoppers took to Twitter to describe their experience on Monday, revealing wait times of 30 minutes before even getting into the parking lot.
In some Ikea locations, lines spanned around the parking lot and up several levels of parking garages.
Still, some shoppers were quick to point out that the lines looked a lot longer than they really were since customers were practicing social distancing.
Even so, Twitter users couldn't quite understand why people were willing to wait in such a long line for furniture.
An Ikea U.K. spokesperson told TODAY the company is excited to begin the reopening process and encouraged shoppers to come prepared with ready-made lists and their own bags to help ease waiting times and lines: "We’re really pleased to be welcoming our customers and co-workers back to our stores. Their health and safety remains our top priority, which is why we have put extensive and enhanced measures in place to create a safe and comfortable experience."
Increased safety measures include restricted numbers in stores, a strict queuing system, social distancing wardens and protective screens.
"To avoid queues, we’d ask those purely wishing to browse or return items to visit us in the coming weeks. Whilst we understand it’s frustrating for customers to face delays due to these measures, they are in place for everyone’s safety. We’re incredibly grateful to customers for their patience and playing their part in keeping everyone safe," the spokesperson continued.
Ikea stores around the world have already reopened in several countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France and Swtizerland (see a full list here) and the company plans to gradually reopen stores in the United States this month after recently reopening online order fulfillment and customer order pick-up in most stores.
Shoppers in the U.S. can expect enhanced safety measures including physical distancing, preventative hygiene practices, maintaining capacity limits, and rigorous cleaning and sanitization.
"To help keep everyone safe, we also urge our customers to play their part in restricting the virus’ spread by listening to local government guidelines, respecting hygiene rules and face mask guidance, maintaining social distancing and staying home if they feel unwell or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms," an Ikea U.S. spokesperson told TODAY.