In downtown Brussels’ Rue Neuve, a long street lined up with stores from the major international brands, photos showed crowds of people with face masks and police navigating the social-distance markings put up by authorities.
Discount chain stores like Action and Kruidvat were also popular among customers exiting the 8-week lockdown, with staff from a store in Aalst saying customers showed up bright and early.
“The first customers were already there at 8:00 AM — an hour before we opened,” staff told HLN, while people in the queue saying they needed to buy anything from kitchenware to and gloves to decorative material.
“For me, it is really about essential things, I have just moved and need cutlery, glasses and other kitchen utensils,” a 27-year-old woman told the outlet, while a 49-year-old said that she needed to buy arts-and-crafts material for her daughter’s school project.
Ikea stores from across Belgium also drew customers in the dozens, with pictures shared by staff unions and users on social media showing people waiting to enter the stores in parking lots parcelled out with metal barriers and security tape.