Despite what the social media rumour mill might be saying, the Argos store in Bedford’s Harpur Centre is preparing to reopen.
The store, which closed as per the government coronavirus guidelines in March, is part of a national phased reopening by Argos.
Perspex till-point safety screens have been installed in the Harpur Centre branch in preparation for re-opening, although a date has not been confirmed.
In a statement made in mid-May, Argos chief executive, Simon Roberts, said the business was phasing the re-opening of its stores with safety measures in place to protect customers and staff.
He said, “Following government advice, we have been reopening Argos stores on high streets and retail parks in the Republic of Ireland since May 18 and in Northern Ireland since June 8.
“We have learnt a lot from these stores about how customers want to shop with us and we will keep listening to customer feedback as we start to open more stores.
“We closed all standalone Argos stores in March and Argos has been an online-only retailer for the past three months. Thank you for being so flexible and for sticking with us and shopping in different ways.
“Our business has changed enormously over the last three months and we want to be very careful as we move to the next phase.
“We know that lots of customers are enjoying the convenience of shopping with us online or collecting in Sainsbury’s and many customers prefer to shop this way, rather than visiting a store.
“We are therefore planning a phased reopening of our shops and had 145 standalone Argos stores.
“We have chosen [the] first phase of stores based on where customers can not currently easily access an Argos store in a Sainsbury’s supermarket – and so we hope that most customers will have an Argos store open near them.
“Safety is our absolute priority and our colleagues have been working hard to get everything ready and to make sure you can shop with us safely.
“All stores will have perspex safety screens at the tills and our colleagues will be following social distancing guidelines at all times, including when they collect items from the warehouse and bring them to the collection counter.
“This might mean it takes them a little longer than usual to serve you – please bear with them, they are doing everything they can to help you in these exceptional circumstances.
“I appreciate some of these changes may be inconvenient for you and you might be disappointed if your local Argos store is not ready to reopen.
“I am sorry for this but please know that our colleagues are doing everything they can to get the right measures in place to ensure everyone stays safe and can shop with us in the ways they want to.
“I know life is going to be different for all of us for some time but we are committed to adapting and changing our business to make sure we are serving you as best we can.”
To ensure social distancing, the Harpur Centre is currently employing a one-way system. Customers can enter via Midland Road or Horne Lane, although the Harpur Square entrance is currently closed to allow the florist to trade safely.