Ikea stores in Scotland will stay open when level 4 restrictions start on Boxing Day

Ikea stores in Scotland will remain open when level 4 restrictions begin on Boxing Day.

The Swedish furniture giant will open its doors to customers when the tough measures come into force - because homeware is still designated as essential retail in Scotland.

On Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tightened restrictions around Christmas which now means families can only meet up - up to three households and eight people - on Christmas Day.

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And she said all of mainland Scotland would go into level four restrictions from December 26. It means all non-essential shops must close, and pubs and restaurants will also shut - but takeaways will still be allowed.

Queues outside the Ikea store at Loanhead earlier in the year.

Ikea will close stores in England’s south-east, London and Wales, with delivery and click and collect services will remain.

But Scotland’s three Ikea sites - Glasgow, Edinburgh and collection point in Aberdeen - will stay open.

An IKEA spokesperson thanked customers and co-workers for their support during the pandemic, adding: “Since the first lockdown we have put all our efforts into keeping our customers and co-workers safe and enabling our customers to continue to shop with us in new and convenient ways.

“In line with government guidance, our stores in London, Lakeside, Milton Keynes, Reading and Cardiff have now closed to customers but will continue to operate Click & Collect, Home Delivery, and Click & Deliver services to DPD points.

“In Scotland, where homeware is designated as essential retail, and in line with rules regarding travel, we will remain open with extensive safety measures in place for customers and co-workers.

“With life at home more important than ever, we look forward to continuing to meet our customers’ needs whether in-store or through our digital channels.”

In June, hundreds of shoppers across Scotland queued from the early hours when Ikea stores reopened for the first time in three months.

In Edinburgh, the store has a capacity of just 450 people which is a quarter of how many shoppers it can normally accommodate without social distancing measures. Metal barriers and yellow dots showed people where to queue while maintaining social distancing, and some shoppers wore face masks in preparation for browsing.