Coronavirus chaos in Manchester as shoppers 'pack in like sardines' to get Christmas presents before lockdown
PANICKED shoppers were "packed in like sardines" in Manchester as they raced to buy Christmas presents before the looming lockdown.
Visitors to the Trafford Centre said the shopping mall was "rammed" as anxious locals tried to buy what they could ahead of the new restrictions.
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Shocking pictures showed scenes of chaos as customers queued for shops in the busy centre.
Huge queues were also formed at Costco in Manchester as millions of anxious Northerners fear being plunged into a fresh local lockdown.
New stricter rules are set to come in, ordering people to not mix indoors and outdoors in the worst-hits parts of the country.
Pubs, non-essential shops and beauty salons could also be closed in the severe regional lockdown as coronavirus cases rise in Northern England.
Horrified shoppers took to Twitter to complain about the "chaos" at the Trafford Centre yesterday.
One wrote: "I'm in the Trafford Centre. Bloody awful #nosocialdistancing #noorganisation #notcomingback."
Another said: "Really uncomfortable with the amount of people in the Trafford Centre @ManCityCouncil #overcrowded.
One commented: "Trafford Centre is rammed, car parks full. I don't
know what the answer is but this doesn't feel quite right."
While one person said: "Trafford Centre totally out of control today. No
crowd control, track/trace, social distancing or cleaning. Compared to
hospitality it felt very unsafe."
A staff member said shoppers have flooded the shopping centre to get their Christmas shopping done now in case the shops close.
She told the MEN: "I'm just appalled.
"The North West has a high infection rate and mask wearing is at a minimum.
"People walking around were packed in like sardines and car parks are
at 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."
The Trafford Centre has urged visitors to wear face masks while inside and only go to the mall with those they live with or are in a support bubble with.
A spokesperson said: “The safety of everyone who visits intu Trafford Centre continues to be our highest priority.
“We have a range of measures in place to ensure we stay safe and
adhere to the official guidance, including a rigorous cleaning regime,
capacity limits, hand sanitisation points, a one way system and more
staff on the malls to reassure people and provide guidance.
“We’d encourage anyone with questions or concerns to speak to a member
of our team. We’ll always do our best to help.”
Boris Johnson is tomorrow set to announce a new three-tier system in a bid to halt rapidly rising cases of coronavirus across the county.
It means ten million Northerners could be back under a tougher lockdown as they fall into Tier 3 of the plans.
Areas with a low rate of infection will be placed in 'Tier 1' – where only national restrictions such as the Rule of Six and the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues will apply.
Regions in 'Tier Two' will see a ban on home visits and indoor socialising with other households.
And 'Tier Three' will see the most serious measures – including a total closure of the hospitality sector and a ban on overnight stays outside the home.
Reports also suggest under the top tier, no household mixing will be allowed, affecting millions of people living in areas with high Covid-19 rates across England.
Leaders across Northern England have criticised the plans, accusing the Government of treating the region as "second-class".
Tory Bolton Council leader, David Greenhalgh, said on the Andrew Marr this morning: "I'm urging the government now to listen again, please listen again to the voice.
"The north feels like they are being treated differently. We know our rates are high, we are not underestimating that… but we cannot throw our local economy to the wolves."
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