The UK's high streets are set to slowly emerge from lockdown next week and that includes some of the largest hi-fi and home cinema retailers. Audio T, Richer Sounds (opens in new tab) and Sevenoaks Sound & Vision (opens in new tab) will be reopening stores from Monday, but it's clear that, at least for the immediate future, things won't be quite how we remembered.
Richer Sounds plans to open 17 of its 53 stores on Monday, but strictly by appointment and with a limit to the number of people allowed in store at any one time. The stores will be cleaned after each appointment, face masks are encouraged, and there will be social distancing measures in place. You can check the Richer Sounds Store Finder (opens in new tab) for details on your local shop.
Sevenoaks Sound & Vision has also said its stores will open from Monday and they'll be following UK government guidelines with regards to hygiene, store cleanliness and social distancing. The company's click and collect service will also be reactivated on Monday. You can find details for your local store on the Sevenoaks website (opens in new tab).
Audio T has also said its stores in England will be reopening from Tuesday 16th June. It will be a "visit by appointment" system to limit the number of people in-store at any one time, plus there will be perspex screens, frequent cleaning, and t safety visors, masks and gloves.
Loud & Clear (opens in new tab), a specialist hi-fi retailer in Scotland, has shared the work that has gone in to ensuring they can reopen safely. "Upon arrival at Loud & Clear, visitors will be greeted at the reception desk where they will be asked to use the hand sanitising equipment before being provided with a complimentary mask and gloves. Inside the store, floor markings clearly indicate the separate areas for customers and staff to guarantee safe distancing." There's even a covered space to wait outside.
Of course all these retailers, and plenty of others, have been operating online - and continue to do so - should you prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home.
As well as retailers, we're also hopeful that many products that had faced delays or were held back from launching over recent weeks, will now see the light of day - leaving plenty of time for them to pass through our test rooms ahead of the 2020 What Hi-Fi? Awards. While there are of course always more important things, some home entertainment distraction is always welcome, we're sure you'll agree.