All shops in England, regardless of what they sell, will be able to open with social distancing measures in place from the middle of June. Retailers across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire have been working on plans to enable social distancing and reduce the chances of coronavirus transmission via clothing and other items that are on sale in their stores.
You can also help reduce the chances of coronavirus transmission with some simple changes to your shopping behaviour. Here are our 8 Social Distancing tips for shoppers:
1. Keep your distance
It’s very important to follow the government rules about social distancing while out & about. Many shops and retail outlets are limiting the number of people in their stores and have distancing stickers near the entrance and tills to make sure shoppers stay two metres apart whilst queuing. However, it’s also important to make sure you maintain the same distance while walking around the shop. Don’t reach across or stand close to someone while picking your products from shelves or fridges, and if an aisle looks crowded, come back to it later in your shop.
2. If a shop looks too busy, wait outside or come back later
While most retail outlets are introducing one in/one out policies to limit the number of shoppers in their stores, some smaller shops have not introduced this yet or may find it hard to enforce. If your favourite shops look too crowded to allow you to stay two metres away from other shoppers, wait outside until it’s quieter or shop elsewhere.
Many of the major supermarkets offer a click and collect service which could help limit your time queuing and in store, although with increasing demand, available collection slots are becoming more difficult to come by.
So don’t limit yourself to the big supermarkets – many local food shops are allowing people to call and place orders ahead of time to limit how long they need to spend in their stores, so check whether this is the case for your local butcher or greengrocer and, if it is, get your order in! Lussmanns are offering this service across Hertfordshire for example.
3. Get creative with online grocery options
Although the major supermarkets are struggling to meet demand, there are other less conventional options that are still delivering to people. Many restaurants and catering suppliers are getting creative and are now delivering to households, with meat, veg and fruit boxes available for the same week.
Keep an eye on social media posts from local community groups for updates on what’s available in your area. This even applies to wine thanks to Must Wine.
4. Keep your shopping trips to a minimum
Government advice is to shop wisely – You can do this with the help of social media and at the same time, find some amazing offers. When you do venture out, plan ahead and do a full shop buying produce you can freeze so that you know the food will last you as long as possible. Remember to write a list so you don’t forget things!
5. Shop alone and quick
Don’t take the family on your shopping trips. If you’re able, shop alone to reduce the number of people in the store and minimise the risk of others catching the virus. Where possible, leave children at home. If you like to browse, keep it to a minimum and think of others waiting to shop too.
6. Take care when paying
Take care at self-checkout stations – many people will have touched the screens, so use antibacterial hand gel as soon as you’ve finished your shop. Where possible, use contactless or card payments rather than cash, which may carry germs.
Many retail outlets have installed plastic screens at the checkout to protect their employees and customers, but still be conscious of supermarket employees and keep your distance as much as possible to help protect both them and you.
7. Limit the items you touch
To help protect you and other shoppers, try to only touch the items you intend to purchase to limit the spread of germs. If you buy fresh produce, ensure you wash it thoroughly before use to help wash away any germs that may be lingering.
Be careful about which surfaces you touch – it’s understood the virus that causes COVID-19 can persist on surfaces from a few hours up to a couple of days, so make sure you sanitise your hands as soon as possible after being out in public.
8. Remember hand hygiene
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds both before your supermarket visit and as soon as you get home to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. It’s also worth taking an antibacterial hand gel with you and using it as soon as you leave the store. Finally, try not to touch your face – this is harder than it may seem but important, particularly before you’ve washed your hands.
Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers
Harpenden based Twist Teas have announced their “Brew for a Hero” campaign is back! Launched to support and boost morale for NHS staff and key workers, the Brew for a Hero” campaign gives people a chance to show their appreciation for all the heroes from all walks of life during the current pandemic. This could be anyone – local postal workers, refuse collectors and cleaners, emergency services and health care staff, teachers and chefs, community groups and volunteers.
You can participate in the “Brew for a Hero” by nominating a NHS or key workers hero you know. Nominate your hero and give them a chance to win one of Twist Teas Rainbow inspired tea caddies. If you know a key worker, that you would like to surprise with a personalised Rainbow Caddy of tea, simply email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a brief reason, as to why they deserve a little treat. Twist Teas will again be tasked with the difficult job of picking winners, to be announced on the 31st of January.
Twist Teas will also be making caddies available to purchase via their website with profits going to NHS Charities. More information about Twist Teas can be found in our interview with founders, mother and daughter duo Nicky Kavanaugh & Claire Ayers.
Watford businesses to decide on the future of Watford BID
Watford BID have launched a video highlighting the reasons why they believe they deserve a second 5-year term. Many residents in Watford are aware of Watford BID but not many understand exactly what they do and more importantly, how integral their work is to the success of Watford.
What is a BID and why are they so important?
Essentially, a BID (Business Improvement District) is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a specific area in which a levy is charged on all business rate payers. This levy is used to develop projects and provide services which benefit businesses in the local area. This can include:
- Activities to increase visitors to the area
- Reducing overall business costs for levy members
- Marketing and promotion of the area such
- Lobbying councils/local government
- Working with local police to reduce anti-social behaviour
There is no limit on what projects or services that can be provided through a Business Improvement District. Some BIDS are more effective at certain tasks than others for a number of reasons but overall, the benefits BIDs offer to the various towns across Beds, Bucks & Herts is immeasurable.
Three reasons for Watford BID to get renewed
We have selected what we believe are the three main reasons why Watford BID should get renewed.
1. Watford BID offers a central point of contact
At a time when the Government don’t know if they are coming or going, having a central point for all information relating to Watford offers residents, visitors and business owners a much-needed level of clarity. Social distancing procedures and safety communication both need harmonisation to keep Watford Town safe.
Watford BID have been extremely informative on Social Media and in the district sharing key information such as this statement on the national lockdown from the Mayor of Watford.
Typically a Business Improvement District is within a local authority boundary but in April 2013 government introduced Cross Boundary Business Improvement Districts enabling Business Improvement Districts to operate across local authority boundaries.
2. Watford Restaurants & Bars will need support after the lockdowns end
Promoting Watford’s entertainment venues post-covid is going to need a lot of collaborative support post covid. Individual businesses taking to to social media to posts and update Facebook is not going to tempt the same numbers back to the district’s nightlife venues.
By having one organisation working alongside all the venues to promote Watford as an entertainment destination, visitors will hear one concise message that Watford is open for business.
3. Think of the benefits for residents and visitors
There have been calls for BIDs across The Three Counties to do more by some levy payers but in fairness, the amount of work involved in some of the projects is not to be underestimated such as launching The Watford Gift Card.
It is also important to understand that alongside promoting what’s on in Watford and things to do in Watford, the organisation is a key source for useful information for those living in and visiting Watford.
Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?
Regardless of lockdowns and coronavirus, people want food. Fans of Five Guys could be getting a late Christmas present with a new Five Guys in Stevenage. A recent job post on the Five Guys recruitment page for a General Manager in the Stevenage area has got locals excited about the possible arrival of the much loved American Chain.
Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?
Spotted by an eagled eyed member of ‘Stevenage Chit Chat‘, the advert for a General Manager drops a few clues at a possible opening of a Five Guys in Stevenage.
Clue No.1 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – The perfect scene
Nothing cements a clue in a mystery more than a location. The recruitment team have placed a X on the spot and that is 51°54’02.4″N 0°12’33.7″W. For all the normal people reading this, that is Unit 10 in Stevenage Leisure Park. This was home to Pizza Hut since late 2002 but this recent Google treasure map shows the unit is currently empty.
Clue No.2 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A job for an ‘accomplice’
Did we mention there is a second job advert for a ‘Assistant Manager? If one job advert was not enough proof, two should be enough to convince you that plans are afoot for a Five Guys in Stevenage.
Clue No.3 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A motive
What more motive do you need than hungry people in Stevenage in need of a good burger? A Five Guys in Stevenage is well overdue. It could even tempt Sir Lewis Hamilton back to Stevenage.