Stocking-piling! Chaos as shoppers ‘pack in like sardines’ into Manchester’s Trafford Centre

Stocking-piling! Chaos as shoppers ‘pack in like sardines’ into Manchester’s Trafford Centre to buy Christmas presents before local lockdown

  • Customers rushed to Manchester’s Trafford Centre to buy Christmas presents
  • One member of staff at the shopping centre said people ‘packed in like sardines’
  • City’s coronavirus infection rate increased more than 15-fold since local lockdown

Swathes of customers flouted social distancing guidelines as they descended upon a shopping centre in Manchester to begin their Christmas shopping amid fears of a second local lockdown. 

Huge queues formed outside shops in the busy Trafford Centre as customers rushed to buy items ahead of tougher restrictions set to come in force in the city.

The scenes come after figures revealed Manchester’s coronavirus infection rate had increased more than 15-fold since local lockdown, with the worst hit areas of the city now facing a rate of 335.9 cases per 100,000 individuals.

Customers were spotted queuing outside a Primark store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre on Saturday 

Shoppers flouted social distancing rules as they rushed to the shopping centre ahead of new restrictions set to come in force

Shoppers flouted social distancing rules as they rushed to the shopping centre ahead of new restrictions set to come in force

One member of staff at the shopping centre said customers had arrived to purchase items for Christmas amid fears of another lockdown.

She told Manchester Evening News: ‘People walking around were packed in like sardines and car parks areas full capacity.

‘The footfall is because of the bad weather and it is becoming a hub because people can’t meet at home, so they’re coming here.

‘It’s as busy now as it is at Christmas.’

Following the scenes, customers took to social media to share their concerns with the chaos. 

One user wrote: ‘That people are going to TC at all for shopping outings or to ”beat a second wave lockdown” shows how out of touch they are, how exceptionalist some people are and how ineffective government messaging has been. 

‘Can’t think of a worse place to go at the moment, sad as it may be.’

While another commented: ‘I stood masked in the Trafford Centre for one min and counted 43 maskless faces. It’s scary!  Manchester is a hotspot with cases rapidly rising. I don’t get it?’

Another person added: ‘I work at the Trafford Centre and it is insulting to me that people are coming in without social distancing and not wearing masks. 

‘We in shops go above and beyond cleaning and wearing PPE to protect everyone and it is just thrown back in our faces!’

Meanwhile another person wrote: ‘Unbelievable. The number of people I see without face covering is appalling. All non-essential shopping and entertainment should be closed. 2020 is not the year to have fun or prepare for Christmas in October.’

Shoppers line up outside a Costco warehouse in Manchester amid fears of a second local lockdown

Shoppers line up outside a Costco warehouse in Manchester amid fears of a second local lockdown

Stocking-piling! Chaos as shoppers 'pack in like sardines' into Manchester's Trafford Centre 1

Stocking-piling! Chaos as shoppers 'pack in like sardines' into Manchester's Trafford Centre 3

Stocking-piling! Chaos as shoppers 'pack in like sardines' into Manchester's Trafford Centre 5

Some customers shared their concerns on social media, with one calling the scenes 'scary'

Some customers shared their concerns on social media, with one calling the scenes ‘scary’

In other parts of the city, hundreds of shoppers stood close together as they queued outside a Costco warehouse in the city.

Last week Manchester mayor Andy Burnham warned of a ‘winter of dangerous discontent’ as coronavirus infection rates continued to rise in the city.

He said: ‘Without urgent change, the North of England will be thrown into one of the most difficult winters we have ever experienced, with the risk of significant harm to health and our economy. It’s that serious.

‘We are heading into the winter months with a Test and Trace system which is still not working and the risk of redundancies rising sharply as the furlough scheme comes to an end. 

‘Without extra support for individuals, business and councils, it could be a winter of dangerous discontent. 

Many regions in the north including Manchester (pictured), Salford, Bury, Trafford, Tameside, and Rochdale, have been subject to local lockdowns

Many regions in the north including Manchester (pictured), Salford, Bury, Trafford, Tameside, and Rochdale, have been subject to local lockdowns

‘I remain ready to work with the Government to build public support for its approach to local lockdowns, but that requires meaningful consultation and proper support for the areas affected. That is not happening at the moment.

‘We have now reached a point where there is a real risk of the Government losing the public in the North because of the perceived unfairness of its local lockdown policies. We can’t let that happen. 

‘There is still time to put in place better measures to protect communities across the North this winter but time is running out.’

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