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Town Shops In Coronavirus Shutdown As Fruit And Veg Stall Opens In North Street

Published on: 20 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 24 Mar, 2020

Note: Story corrected 3 March 2020

The quiet town centre streets today (March 20) were evidence that Guildfordians were taking the government’s plea for voluntary social distancing seriously and were staying at home to beat the coronavirus.

A deserted White Lion Walk on Friday (March 20) as shoppers stayed away due to the coronavirus. The Friary was just as quiet.

And while supermarket shelves were being stripped by desperate shoppers, chain after chain of other retailers were announcing that they were closing for business in a reaction to the drastic fall in the number of shoppers.

One 75-year-old man, whose wife was unsuccessfully looking for paracetamol in chemists in the town centre, told The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “It is grim. Will it ever be the same again?

“Perhaps they should introduce rationing. At least with vouchers, people would be able to get essentials.”

Shelves were being stripped by shoppers despite limits being imposed by supermarkets.

The good news is that a fruit and veg stall is to open in North Street seven days a week until further notice to provide the town with fresh fruit and vegetables.

A market trader said: “We are giving the customers what they want and competing with the supermarkets.

“We will be fair and not let any one customer take too much. One man this morning wanted two whole boxes of bananas but we wouldn’t let him.”

Signs in many shops including Neom and TKMaxx were apologising for closing their doors and were pointing people towards their online websites where they were continuing to trade.

Sign in the Neom shop window in the High Street was just one of the many shops closed due to the coronavirus.

The major stores were also indicating that they would be taking drastic measures. Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group announced that they would be shutting down all their high street stores. This would include the prominent Topshop in the Friary shopping centre.

Marks & Spencer said that some stores would close temporarily but it is not clear if that would affect the Guildford branch.

And with pubs and restaurants closed by the government today, they join the growing list of business casualties hit by the coronavirus including travel companies, hotels, clothing retailers and estate agents.

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Responses to Town Shops In Coronavirus Shutdown As Fruit And Veg Stall Opens In North Street

  1. Stephen Mansbridge Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 8:14 am

    Keeping the market open is both dangerous and wrong.

    Does no one listen to advice.

  2. John Oliver Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Judging by my experience yesterday morning, I agree that it is dangerous. I came away virtually empty-handed and did without.

    But it isn’t wrong. It needs re-thinking. It is held in too-crowded a space.

    Why not let it take place in the High St, spreading it out down the street (with a minimum large gap, big enough to put the stallholders’ vehicle, between stalls) and facing into the road rather than onto the pavement.

    This would remove the very obvious people-congestion I witnessed yesterday and allow people to easily stand 2 metres apart in the queues.

  3. H Avery Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Despite cafes being told to only provide takeaway drinks etc, this morning, Saturday, there were at least 3 cafes in Guildford town centre, full of people sitting down and drinking.

    Irresponsible of both them and the national chain shops they are part of.

  4. Alan Davies Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Cometh the hour, cometh confusion. Just returned from Guildford town centre where chain cafes like Starbucks and Caffe Nero open but small independent coffee shops closed.

    Surely all for one and one for all.

  5. Kathleen Parrish Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Rationing is the only way round shops being stripped bare as people with cars go round from shop to shop leaving the shelves bare for people who have to walk.

    And YES they get car loads of shopping not baskets of shopping. These car owners should think about others.

    • Jan Todd Reply

      March 21, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Waitrose car park has been busier than I have ever seen it this week. So it has almost definitely been the case that drivers have swooped into Waitrose and cleared the shelves, which is why the fruit and veg stall in North Street will be so valuable to those who do their shopping locally and on foot.

  6. Caroline Reeves Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    It is one fruit and vegetable stall which will be open on the market and every coffee shop that is open is only doing take away, and as there are so few people in town the queues are virtually non existent.

    Caroline Reeves is the leader of Guildford Borough Council

  7. Debbie Bowen Reply

    March 21, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    We need fruit and vegetables to maintain our well being. It is one fruit and veg stall who are trying to help our community.

    Get a grip. At this time, we are not in competition for profits, supermarkets versus independent businesses. We are all just trying to get vital produce to our community.

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