Fully vaccinated shoppers have wasted no time hitting up Kmart – but it’s got some NSW residents concerned for good reason.
Fully vaccinated NSW residents have wasted no time hitting the shops on their first day of freedom.
But photos and videos of wild scenes at Kmart have attracted criticism, with people arguing the footage shows shoppers not abiding by social distancing rules.
Under NSW’s road map to reopening retail was allowed to open on Monday to fully vaccinated shoppers, however, are restricted to one person per four square metres.
“Aren’t there supposed to be customer limits to ensure social distancing?” one person tweeted.
“Sure hope they (NSW) keep the mask wearing and social distancing up,” another said. “Doesn‘t look to be happening in the Kmart lineups.”
A Kmart spokeswoman told news.com.au covid safety was their “number one priority” and they were sticking to the government mandated store limits.
“For some of our stores this is our first day opening to customers in over 100 days and we are so pleased to welcome back so many of our New South Wales family on day one,” a spokeswoman said.
“In many of our stores today there have been queues to enter and to check out, as our team and customers adjust to new processes and government requirements including checking vaccination status.
“We are so grateful for all our customers that have been respectful of this.
“Many of our stores are a large format and all have strict reduced capacity limits which have been adhered to today and we thank our customers for being patient with us and ask for their continued support in following safety guidelines in store including social distancing, using QR codes and wearing masks.”
Those who didn’t hit Kmart at the stroke of midnight on Monday expressed disbelief at the “crazy” scenes.
According to Queensland University of Technology retail and consumer behaviour expert Gary Mortimer the frenzy in Kmart and other previously shuttered services could be attributed to restrictions being in place for so long.
“For the rest of this week, people will be keen to get out, taking selfies of themselves at a restaurant, at a bar, or in a retail store, engaging in that activity that they’ve not engaged in for some time,” he told The New Daily.
One person on TikTok argued many had hit up Kmart for “the thrill of being back out again”, while another said it was “nice to see everyone excited to get some normality back in their lives”.
Others even went so far as to say it was snobbish to slam those who had crowded Kmart on the first day of reopening.
What have shoppers been buying?
While many shoppers seem just happy to be back in stores, in Kmart they were particularly interested in stocking up on new toys, Christmas items, homewares and spring-summer clothing, a spokeswoman told news.com.au.
On Monday Big W reported a whopping 453 per cent increase in sales compared to the week previous, while sleepwear was up 395 per cent, sales women’s activewear increasing by 325 per cent and school clothing up 113 per cent.
Like Kmart, Big W customers were also keen to get festive, with sales of Christmas decorations up 234 per cent compared to the following week.