SINGAPORE - While those looking to furnish their homes will be able to visit Swedish retailer Ikea come Friday (June 19), fans of the store's meatballs will have to wait a little longer to taste the popular signature dish.
The two Ikea stores in Alexandra and Tampines will reopen on Friday when phase two of the post-circuit breaker period begins, said Ikea Singapore in a statement on Wednesday.
However, its food operations, including its restaurants, bistros and food market, will remain closed until further notice.
In addition to implementing safety precautions such as limiting the number of customers, both stores will have shorter opening hours.
The Alexandra outlet will open from 10am to 9pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and 10am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Tampines outlet will open from 11am to 9pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and 11am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Following guidelines from the authorities, the stores will limit the number of customers to one person per 10 sq m of gross floor area.
The children's play area in the stores will be closed as well.
Mr Keith Oo, deputy store general manager at Ikea Tampines, said the company is taking a step-by-step approach to reopening its stores and prioritising safety and crowd management.
He said: "We understand that in Singapore's context, food is very important for all of us. But it is about safety first. We need to make sure that customers feel safe when they walk into our stores."
He added that the company will reassess the opening of its food operations after this weekend.
To help make sure that customer numbers remain manageable during the weekend, the carpark at the Alexandra outlet, which is smaller than that at the store in Tampines, will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ikea Singapore will monitor the situation, and updates on the availability of carpark spaces will be posted on its website.
The carpark at the Tampines outlet will be open daily.
Mr Oo said that should the crowds waiting to enter the Tampines store become too big, the carpark will also be closed to prevent more visitors from entering, while waiting for customer numbers in the store to decrease.
Both stores will implement hourly cleaning regimes and have employees and safe distancing ambassadors on the ground to ensure that customers move through the store in an orderly fashion and do not form large groups.
Customers will have to wear masks, and the stores will have thermal temperature monitors as well as implement SafeEntry check-in for all visitors.
Mr Oo said: "We do need to make sure that we control the crowds in a good way. Make sure we don't create any bottlenecks or congregations of people in any one area."
The company is also encouraging shoppers to shop online and visit on weekdays.
Mr Oo said: "We are so happy to be opening our doors again but we are very clear on our priorities. Safety first.
"Our Ikea stores cannot return to 'normal' just yet. Covid-19 remains a reality, and we all must do our part to prevent the virus from spreading."
Meanwhile, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands will also resume retail operations on Friday but access to the mall will be limited to members of Marina Bay Sands’ loyalty programme, Sands Rewards, the integrated resort operator said.
In a statement on Wednesday, Marina Bay Sands said visitor access will be restricted for now, “in order to ensure safe distancing measures and that limits in capacity are adhered to”.
The company did not elaborate on how long this period of limited access will last.
Food and beverage outlets operated directly by Marina Bay Sands, as well as venues such as the hotel, casino, ArtScience Museum and convention centre, will remain closed until further notice.