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Prague IKEA to reopen May 11 but to a limited number of customers only

The Swedish furniture chain will greatly reduce the number of people allowed in its Prague stores upon reopening next week

Like many other brick and mortar stores that were forced to close during the coronavirus restrictions in the Czech Republic, IKEA is set to re-open in May as government measures lessen.

But the Swedish furniture giant will be making some changes to its normal operations, according to Czech daily Aktualne.cz.

The store, which has locations in Prague’s Černý Most and Zličín, and in Brno and Ostrava will reopen without its bistro or children’s corner and it will limit the number of customers allowed in the store.

While the chain declined to quantify its losses to the publication it did say that e-shop sales for this period in the Czech Republic were up three hundred percent over last year. An IKEA spokesperson confirmed that they are selling seven times more kitchen items online than compared to the pre-pandemic period.

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Since the closure of department stores in mid-March, it has also seen a 260 percent increase in interest in office equipment and workspace equipment.

The company has, however, come under criticism by Czech shoppers who are took to social media to complain about its Click and Pick Up price, saying that it some cases the price for collection of goods exceeded the price of the order itself. 

The company told the publication that it planned to adjust the pick-up prices in the coming months depending on the volume of the order.

Aktualne reports that in 2018/2019 alone, 10 million people visited IKEA in the Czech Republic. As part of its security measures upon reopening, IKEA will limit the number of visitors to the store to 1,200 people at its Prague Černý Most and Zličín locations, and half that in Brno and Ostrava, meaning 600 visitors at a time.

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An average of 500 to 600 customers per hour typically pass through the department store. On the weekend its peak traffic between 11 am and 3 pm can reach up to 900 to 1,300 people.

To ensure safety the store will implement different routes for incoming and outgoing customers and spacing between customers as well as enforcing the government-mandated requirement of masks and disinfection and the encouraging of cashless payment.

Since last week, the government allowed the reopening of shops of up to 2,500 square meters, which are not part of department stores over 5,000 square meters or have an entrance from the outside.

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