As some Covid restrictions were eased today, many were excited about returning to the high street as non-essential shops such as bookshops and clothing stores flung open their doors for the first time since January.
In similar scenes to last year when lockdown was eased, some shoppers queued outside their favourite shops ahead of the planned reopenings.
Covering the easing of curbs, Good Morning Britain correspondent Kate Hemingway tweeted images of shoppers standing in a line outside a Primark in Liverpool.
Large queues are forming outside Primark in Liverpool as non essential retail reopens for the first time since Janu… https://t.co/DQdYxaojMv— Kate Hemingway (@Kate Hemingway) 1618206600
There were also similar scenes in cities across the country, including in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff and London, which were shared widely online.
But Hemingway’s image sparked a huge debate after some took it upon themselves to mock those waiting in line for the store to open:
@KHemingwaynews @GMB Really .................... what sort of human is desperate to go shopping in primark— Darren Sharp (@Darren Sharp) 1618214680
@KHemingwaynews @GMB How desperate are some people to buy a cheap T-shirt that will disintegrate in 3 months 😂😂 https://t.co/j6cdZcYHRZ— John Craven (@John Craven) 1618214279
These replies were, on the whole, not well-received and other Twitter users jumped to the shoppers’ defence and accused the critics of being snobs. Primark was soon trending on Twitter as people discussed the pictures.
Here are some of the best replies:
If someone wants to queue for TK Maxx or Primark today then just let them. It’s not affecting you, is it? It’s not… https://t.co/zC71QhEr82— Adam Morris (@Adam Morris) 1618215532
@zcelticboy @KHemingwaynews @GMB Not everyone can afford to buy from Asos & next. Primark also a viable place for c… https://t.co/wEaBqSME2A— Oxtail bird app unite (@Oxtail bird app unite) 1618213157
@KHemingwaynews @GMB Lots of unpleasant comments here. Primark don’t do online. Some people can’t afford multiple p… https://t.co/ztHc1fPq3y— Rosie Andrews 🐍 is writing (@Rosie Andrews 🐍 is writing) 1618211516
@lauratigger82 @KHemingwaynews @GMB Primark don’t have the option to shop online and if they have children who have… https://t.co/md9YHe2j0o— Sean* (@Sean*) 1618213880
Others pointed out that queuing for shops such as Primark is really no different to lining up outside a pub or hairdressers – which many have done today – or, infact, many of the other high street shops that also had queues:
@rosieandrews22 @KHemingwaynews @GMB Totally agree. You don’t see unpleasant comments when people are queuing outsi… https://t.co/0zXawJIFJb— Sam (@Sam) 1618213634
@KHemingwaynews @GMB Why have you showed just Liverpool? What's the big massive issue with people queueing at Prima… https://t.co/yEaLmtKEid— Megan Melia (@Megan Melia) 1618214936
Before we penalise people queueing outside of Primark today: Primark sells affordable clothing and is a necessity t… https://t.co/2Ze1JdHuGm— gods favourite emo (@gods favourite emo) 1618214390
Someone also pointed out that it might be due to social distancing that some queues looked even bigger than they probably were.
Lockdown easing means something different to everyone. Some are excited about the pub, others want to browse shops and many won’t do anything differently at all. We don’t see anything wrong with any of that.