Cardiff rammed as shoppers queue for bargains to beat threat of lockdown

These are the scenes in Cardiff city centre on the second weekend after the conclusion of the fire-break lockdown in Wales.

Queues of people were seen lining up outside shops and Christmas attractions, despite the grey weather and rain.

On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford warned people to act “sensibly” and think about the risks they were taking when asked whether people should avoid Christmas shopping.

He also said there was no guarantee that Wales would make it to the Christmas period without facing another fire-break lockdown, and urged people to follow the rules.

But shoppers, possibly worried about another lockdown, today formed queues outside most shops and pubs were fully booked on what looked to be one of the busiest shopping days of the month.

Cardiff was jam-packed with people today
(Image: Matthew Horwood)
Shoppers enjoying the Christmas market in Cardiff
(Image: Richard Swingler)
The rain didn’t scare people away
(Image: Richard Swingler)
Or stop anyone from dressing up for a night out
(Image: Richard Swingler)
Many were just on the hunt for a bargain
(Image: Matthew Horwood)

Speaking ahead of a pre-booked lunch in Miller & Carter, one group from Treorchy and Tonypandy said shops were busier than expected.

Lisa Pearce said: “It’s not the same. There’s too many people, it’s making me anxious. We’ll all have to go back to the hospital because of all the people here. We’ve had to queue in each place and you can’t get to a pub because everywhere is fully booked.”

Friend Kirsty Richards added: “I came last Sunday and it wasn’t like this but because it’s a Saturday everyone is off.”

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David Williams, 25, was also in town Christmas shopping. He ventured into the city centre last weekend but said it wasn’t the same as the “mad rush” seen in previous years.

He said: “It’s pretty busy. People were asking me for directions who were clearly from England which is a bit concerning. But it’s nice to see the market stalls busy and people have been pretty good with masks to be honest.

“It’s not the usual Christmas mad rush, there’s something nice about it.”

There was a festive atmosphere at the Christmas attractions
(Image: Richard Swingler)
(Image: Richard Swingler)
Shoppers reported queues in most places in Cardiff
(Image: Richard Swingler)
In the queue for the Prince of Wales pub
(Image: Richard Swingler)

In the Christmas market, Sarah Williams was helping run her mum’s friend’s stall EweMoo, selling quirky sheep and pig foot rests.

She said: “To be honest in the week it has been quite quiet but with busy moments. Today has been really, really busy but it’s manageable. It’s not overwhelming or anything like that. Everyone is pretty good with masks, people are coming out the shops and this is just another shop but outside.”

Speaking about her decision to help with the stall this year, she added: “I was a little bit apprehensive because I didn’t know what to expect but it’s like last Christmas, it’s the new normal.”

It was a good day for one lucky person
(Image: Richard Swingler)
(Image: Richard Swingler)
There wasn’t a huge opportunity for social distancing
(Image: Richard Swingler)

In Queen Street, groups of people were busy watching buskers and also queuing for shops. Outside Matalan, one member of staff was seen handing out umbrellas to customers to help with the rain.

A group from Abercynon said they had been waiting around 10 minutes in the queue for Lush so far.

One woman said: “We have queued for every shop so far. It’s Black Friday, a lot of places have started their sales already. But it’s been okay.”

WalesOnline – Cardiff