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COVID-19: Mobile Operators Shut Shops

EE-shop

Consumers looking to upgrade their smartphones or mobile packages will need to use the internet after the coronavirus epidemic shuttered all operators’ shops and kiosks.

Following the government’s announcement on Monday evening that all shops selling non-essential goods must close, mobile operators EE, O2, Three and Vodafone confirmed that all their high-street outlets have shut and will remain so until they’re allowed to reopen.

Mobile operators directed customers to a phone, internet and app-based support systems while their shops are shut. Those systems are already under strain, however, as self-isolation and quarantined has taken its toll on staff numbers.

A spokesperson for EE said: “We’ll be temporarily closing all our EE and BT stores, until further notice. Our stores have played an important role in keeping our customers connected during this difficult time, and we’d like to thank those colleagues for all their hard work in helping to keep our customers in touch with their friends and loved ones. All of our retail colleagues will remain on full pay throughout this challenging time.”

A spokesperson for O2 said: “We have taken the decision to close our high street stores, effective at the end of business yesterday evening, in order to protect our colleagues and customers … Our website o2.co.uk remains open and if customers have any queries they can visit MyO2 or contact us directly. We will continue to monitor the situation in the UK before taking any decision to reopen our stores.”

Three said: “We thank our people for working over the last few weeks to support our customers in these difficult times. We will continue to keep the nation connected and, for any enquiries, customers can use the Three App 24/7 or use Three Store Now, which is a new service at www.three.co.uk/three-store-now on which customers can ask general questions between 9 AM and 6 PM.”

Vodafone confirmed it too has “shut our stores” and would be “looking at ways to assist these customers over the next few days.”

Virgin Media’s shops are also shut but the telecoms giant didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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