The Prime Minister issued the instruction last night “you must stay at home”.
Announcing that shopping would be allowed only for basic necessities – food and medicines, he also said people would be allowed out only once a day for exercise. Other than that only for medical care or to get to work if absolutely necessary. Weddings and baptisms are cancelled for the time being. Parks can be open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed. The police will have powers to enforce this.
The leader of Hounslow Council, Steve Curran said on Sunday that all shops should close except pharmacies and those that are selling food or takeaways.
“The government guidelines are quite clear, residents at risk should not be going out shopping especially those with underlying health issues” he told The Chiswick Calendar.
All weekend there had been rumours that Boris Johnson would close shops and put London into lock down. He announced the closure of restaurants, cafes. pubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and spas on Friday.
“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment where no health service in the world could possibly cope” he said. “So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease”.
Images above: Insider Dealings; Greige
Shops closing and adapting
Many shops in Chiswick have already closed of their own volition; some sell online and others are offering free delivery to the Chiswick area.
Sally Price, who runs the interior design shop Insider Dealings on Chiswick High Rd told me yesterday: “I am expecting them to tell us to close because people have been really stupid, just not listening to government advice. Watching everybody on the beaches at the weekend was just ridiculous”. She has been seeing one customer at a time in her tiny shop, with hand wipes at the ready. Hers is not the kind of business which can be conducted purely online, because people need to see the fabrics and she needs to go to their houses and measure up, so she has been finishing up existing orders and looking at the government financial help package with her accountant, in expectation of closure.
Greige, the home furnishing shop on Bedford Corner, closed on Saturday. Their shop is also not very big. “It was morally the right thing to do” co-owner John Farrant told me. Griege sells online through its website www.greige.co.uk and John is offering free delivery to anyone in Chiswick, though he says nobody is interested in home furnishings right now, quite understandably.
Images above: LA Menswear; Lizard ladies fashion
Clothing shops Wild Swans and Damsel on Devonshire Rd had already closed before the announcment, as had Jigsaw, which has cleared the shop of stock. Lizard women’s fashion on Turnham Green Terrace was open yesterday. Owner Kambiz Hendessi was also expecting to be open “probably only for a few more days”. They have been letting people into the shop one person at a time and wiping down the clothes hangers and rails every few hours. Lizard sells online at www.lizardfashion.co.uk and also delivers locally for free. LA Menswear was open on Monday but fully expecting the government to close shops. “Half the street is closed already. It’s quite weird and very sad” said owner Henrik Henson. LA Menswear sells online “but people aren’t going to buy new clothes until they get really, really bored” he said. They will also deliver locally for free. www.lamenswear.co.uk
Foster Books closed on Saturday. Stephen Foster told me he would continue to do mail order and would do free delivery locally. fosterbooks.co.uk
Chiswick Lighting had also closed its doors. Penny Ledbury, who runs the business said on Saturday: ‘We at Chiswick Lighting have also decided to close the shop door. We are answering calls and emails and will deliver locally if we are able and it is safe to do so’. www.chiswicklightingcompany.co.uk
Honest Burger were giving away bags of onions outside their restaurant over the weekend, rather than throw away food they couldn’t use, as they shut down.
Chiswick Cameras was planningn to be closed after today (Tuesday 24 March). Owner Andy Sands told me on Monday he would be there until 6.00pm sorting out existing orders, but after that would not be opening the shop and would not be able to fulfill online orders either.
Windfall Natural on Turnham Green Terrace was also open yesterday, but not letting people into the shop. Their staff were taking orders at the door and bringing goods to customers there.
Fudge’s Cycles was open too. Owner Chris Ghadder said they would remain open until they were told to close. He told me their main business now was repairing bicycles, which they have always done, but they have been seeing far fewer sales of bikes and accessories in the last few days and a surge in the repair business, because people are realising cycling is a safe way to get about, in terms of the Coronavirus at least. In the shop they have been operating a closed door policy, letting two people in at a time and wiping down between customers, but because most of their business has been doing repairs people haven’t been handling products and putting them back on the shelves much. Chris operates a collect and repair service. He will pick your bike up in his van, repair it and drop it back to you. Tel: 0208 994 1485 / Email: email@example.com
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Row over councillor ‘go shopping’ advice