When socialising, handshakes and friendly hugs are such a normal part of most Ruddingtonians’ lives, the seismic shift required in most aspects of our daily behaviour during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is certainly creating some challenges.
Until a few weeks’ ago no one even knew what ‘social distancing’ was, yet humans across the planet are now being required to do it – to minimise the risk of them becoming infected or infecting others. The seriousness of the situation was reflected in Boris Johnson’s shutdown – then lockdown – of our everyday lives – to the extent that essential shopping trips and even a quick stroll must now be undertaken with extreme care.
The vast majority of people here in Ruddington seem to understand the ‘life and death’ nature of the current situation, comply with The Government’s rules and generally stay at home – despite an untimely spell of tempting, sunny weather. However, some residents have expressed concerns that still not everyone is taking enough notice. In and amongst stories of Ruddington’s great community spirit and positive action for residents most in need, there’s also some selfishness going on.
Ellen Bradley tells us: “I’ve just come from the Co-op. Can people please stop panic buying and hoarding!? It’s disgraceful that some people can’t get things that they genuinely need – a small amount of eg. bread, milk, toilet roll – because others have decided to clear the shelves. If everyone just bought what they needed there would be enough for all!”
Ellen adds: “I would really like to stress the point about ‘social distancing’. Even if individuals aren’t worried about themselves, it’s necessary to reduce the risk to more vulnerable villagers, whether elderly or young with an underlying condition. I feel like this message still isn’t getting through!”
Chloe Taylor agrees and, after searching for essentials at both Sainsbury’s and the Co-op yesterday, commented: “I think the staff are doing their best in each store but they need some guidance and support from management to implement a safer system so we can shop without fear of spreading the virus. It was basically impossible to avoid anyone and keep the required 2 metre distance. I believe similar sized stores in surrounding villages are already implementing systems such as ‘one in, one out’ or maximum numbers of people allowed in the store at once, whilst others wait in queues with 2 metre spacing outside.”
Chloe suggests: “The implementation of these types of systems by our local stores would help us in navigating this surreal situation and also prevent those who choose to ignore the government guidance from going against social distancing.”
It seems those concerns are now being addressed at both our village supermarkets…
Customer Trading Manager Sue Dalzell-Furness, at Ruddington’s Sainsbury’s Local, assures us: “We’re asking customers to remain 2 metres apart around the store, restricting the amount of people who can come in at once to allow this to happen. Whilst we are replenishing an aisle it will be closed – however this will allow for rest of the store to remain open.
“The staff are doing their best by asking customers to keep their distance. The customers also need to be mindful of the social distancing. We don’t have a lot of staff, so won’t always see where the customers are within the store. We have markers on the floor leading to the till area so, when people are queuing, they are 2 metres apart. There are only 2 tills open to protect our colleagues too” explains Sue.
“We are asking the customers to not come to the till until they are asked to, and to place the shopping down and then step back, so the cashier can process their shopping. We understand that we are in difficult times and ask for the customers to be respectful of all the staff. They are doing their very best and we are extremely proud of all our colleagues who are still coming to work to serve the community of Ruddington!”
Co-op Member Pioneer for Ruddington, Gwen Eyre, reveals shop assistants at their store have also faced abuse because some shelves are empty: “I am greatly concerned about customers being rude to staff” she says. “I’ve heard the pharmacy have had similar issues. Please believe us when we say we are trying our best to serve the community in what are incredibly difficult conditions.”
As for ‘social distancing’, Gwen says Ruddington Co-op is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of both staff and customers: “As a small store there will be occasions when people pass in close proximity – but these should be fleeting. Areas where customers congregate near the tills are clearly marked out to show where people should stand away from check out staff and other customers.”
Gwen adds: “Staff are regularly cleaning down surfaces and cleaning solution is available for costumers to clean their own baskets and trolleys should they wish. There are signs on entry to remind people to keep the 2m distance.” However – unlike other traders in our village – Gwen says the Co-op has not yet enforced a ‘one in, one out’ system or maximum customer number policy.
Victoria Elliott says: “I think the staff in the shops should be given masks. They’re doing an incredible job and have no PPE. I was in the queue yesterday at Sainsbury’s and it hit me how at risk they are.”
There are also concerns about walkers and joggers not giving each other a ‘wide enough berth’ on some of the narrower footpaths around our village. It seems even a walk in the park isn’t ‘a walk in the park’ at the moment because some families out for their permitted exercise are failing to adequately control their kids. Debs Hayball urges parents to follow the government guidance to keep their children two metres (seven feet) away from other people.
“I have just walked my dog and asked someone to keep their children at the required distance and was told to ‘mind my middle class business'” says Debs. “It just seems people aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously.”
However, Kay Garrett comments: “I’ve found everyone in the village extremely polite, my children are acutely aware of keeping a safe distance, and the shops and businesses are doing a brilliant job.”
There’s even more news about how the pandemic of potentially deadly COVID-19 has transformed everyday life in Ruddington >>HERE<<.