Posted: 18/03/2020

Independent retailers come to the aid of those stranded by COVID-19 self-isolation

Small retailers have begun to step up and support those left stranded by self isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gainsborough-based farm shop Uncle Henry’s has offered home delivery as well as personal in-store shopping slots to ensure customers have continued access.

A spokesperson for the shop said: “We have established a weekly food delivery service within a ten-mile radius of Uncle Henry’s to include Scunthorpe, Brigg, Caistor, Market Rasen, Dunholme, Welton, Gainsborough and all villages in between.

“At present, we have very good stock levels and are continuing to be able to serve our customers well. We have ordered more stock of essential items and have deliveries arriving into the farm shop daily.”

Gloucestershire’s The Cotswold Cheese Company announced on Instagram that they will be open as usual, and are offering home deliveries of their fresh cheese, bread and milk.

Lancaster-based The Courtyard Dairy announced on social media that it, too, would be offering customers free local delivery to those self-isolating.

Retail expert Richard Hyman said the scale of the coronavirus crisis was unprecedented, but that offering home delivery was a good option for retailers.

“If fewer people go to the shops, what can you do about that? Can you deliver? Of course, home delivery still involves human beings, but it would appear to be one option worth looking at.”

The Pangbourne Cheese Shop has gone a step further and, on top of its usual free delivery service, will pick up other bits of shopping for those unable to leave their homes.

Delifonseca restaurant and food hall, based in Liverpool, announced on Monday, 16th March that they would be delivering groceries and meat from nearby Edge Butchers to those in need. 

The food hall also promised that its chefs would be preparing dishes from its restaurant menu to be eaten at home.

 “We are in uncharted waters,” added Hyman. “We have not seen a virtually global response to something like this before. People are scared. Flights are being cancelled and travelling almost empty.”

“My advice is to keep calm and carry on. You have to sit tight and – although it is of little consolation – remember the guy next door is in the same situation.

What novel measures are you taking to ensure business as usual during the outbreak? Email and let us know.

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