Throngs queue up outside Ikea prior to store closures due to circuit breaker

PHOTO: Twitter/infernoxv

Following the announcement on April 3 that Singapore would see month-long closures of schools and most workplaces from April 7 to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the weekend saw throngs of people rushing out to grab necessities.

Which, apparently, included furniture from Ikea.

Photos of a long queue snaking outside Ikea's Alexandra outlet were first posted onto Twitter on April 4. Some people were spotted wearing surgical masks while others had young children in tow.

https://twitter.com/infernoxv/status/1246450153872961537

A similar situation was observed at Tampines' branch. In earlier photos posted onto social media a weekend prior, the alleged waiting time to enter the premise was an hour.

https://twitter.com/boboiscrazy/status/1243830646025236482

The high volume of visitors prompted the furniture retailer to urge customers to avoid visiting both outlets the next day in a Facebook post.

The shoppers' behaviour received widespread criticism from netizens, including local actor Tosh Zhang and former Nominated MP Calvin Cheng.

https://twitter.com/toshrock/status/1247057786787119105

Some Singaporeans do not deserve time to prepare. Government gives a weekend for you to get your essential affairs into...

Posted by Calvin Cheng on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Tosh wrote: "My Malaysian friends are asking me why Singaporeans are rushing to buy Ikea during this Covid-19 period. What a way to humiliate ourselves." 

While some argued that parents could've been rushing to buy study tables to cater to their children's needs, Cheng argued: "For those who are arguing these may be essential items like desks for working from home, I have one piece of advice.

"If you see a crowd, turn back. Nothing is more essential than your life."

Speaking with Today Online, head of Ikea's corporate communications Ms Corinna Schuler assured the company would continue operations through their online website.

"IKEA will be able to continue operating e-commerce in the coming month," said Ms Schuler. Scheduled deliveries will also go ahead.

"We are, as of Sunday night, adjusting our websites and re-opening slots for booking deliveries in the week ahead."

rainercheung@asiaone.com