‘Yes, DIY stores are essential’ - Verdict of voters in our online poll

Are DIY stores essential? Most readers in our poll said yes. Picture: Getty Images/Polka Dot RF

Are DIY stores essential? Most readers in our poll said yes. Picture: Getty Images/Polka Dot RF - Credit: Getty Images/Polka Dot RF

Should DIY stores be opening during coronavirus lockdown? A majority of people who took part in our poll said yes, their service is essential.

B&Q at Euro Retail Park, Ipswich. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

B&Q at Euro Retail Park, Ipswich. Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

More than half the readers who voted, 55%, felt that these shops should be open in case people needed equipment to carry out urgent repairs. However, 45% voted against the opening, claiming such stores are not essential.

Many readers have also defended DIY stores via our Facebook pages, after retail giant B&Q came in for criticism nationally, with numerous posts on social media complaining about long queues at some of its stores in other areas.

The company shut all its branches in late March, but opened just 14 branches, including its Ipswich branch at Euro Retail Park, in a trial earlier this month. It has now gradually opened up 155 stores nationally, including Colchester, Chelmsford, Clacton and Basildon in Essex, as well as the Ipswich store.

The store chain has stressed that it has introduced a series of safeguards, including social distancing and accepting only contactless and card payments,

On Facebook, Tim Edwards said of B&Q: “The store in Ipswich is well organised, with a limited number of customers any one time. Staff were lovely when I popped in, far safer than any supermarket from a distancing perspective. If people want to do DIY, then at least that keeps them at home.”

READ MORE - Do you think DIY stores should be open during lockdown?Suzi Wright took a similar view, commenting: “If they adhere to the same rules as supermarkets I don’t see why they can’t open. People are stuck at home with all this time of their hands and doing something positive would be a good thing.”

Becky Ellis commented: “If they are safeguarding in the same way as the supermarkets, I don’t see an issue, what’s the difference? DIY items may not be essential to survive, but they offer items that will keep some people sane by being able to keep busy in the house & garden.”

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And Brian Thompson said: “We are all at home using taps, toilets, electrics, etc, more than usual, so yes, we do need access to parts to repair broken items at home. To bring strangers into your home to effect repairs puts you at greater risk!”

But others were concerned about the lengths of queues at DIY stores, and felt people should not be going there to shop, Rachel Davey commented: “I went past B and Q yesterday and there was a massive queue. It’s ridiculous.”

And Angela Calver said: “I heard there were people wandering around a DIY store just having a browse at this and that. Sorry, but that shouldn’t be allowed. We are on lockdown.”

B&Q said on its official blog: “Similar to shopping at supermarkets, we’ve introduced social distancing controls at our re-opened stores. We’re strictly limiting the number of customers in store at any one time, and so you may find you need to queue if you visit the store. To help remind everyone to respect each other’s personal space, we have two metre floor markers throughout the store and also perspex screens at our checkouts.

“At these re-opened stores, customers can purchase products that are available for takeaway in store on the day. However, services such as kitchen and bathroom design, paint mixing, timber cutting and key cutting are not available for the time being. We are accepting card, gift card and contactless payments only.”