In the fight against COVID-19, with cases of Coronavirus rapidly increasing, and England’s death toll tragically rising to 167 today, it was inevitable that this country would soon need to fall in line with many others around the world by enforcing even tighter restrictions on our everyday lives.
That time came this afternoon when, at Boris Johnson’s now customary daily briefing, the Prime Minister asked for all the UK’s cafés, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close “as soon as they reasonably can”. Mr Johnson urged people not to go out tonight, stressing: “For now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.” He promised the situation will be reviewed each month.
The famous ‘White Horse Quiz’ did go ahead last night – although across two rooms to enable better ‘social distancing’ of contestants. Also, Jason Allen stood in for usual quizmaster Howard ‘Gees’ (and his ‘assistant’ Beth) since Howard works at Nottingham City Hospital alongside the infectious diseases department. Even before today’s pub closure announcement, he had been requested by their Matron to avoid as much social contact as possible to minimise the risk of getting this virus and passing it to other staff and their patients.
Howard reveals to RUDDINGTON.info: “I’m looking into the possibility of running the #WhiteHorseQuiz online so teams can still see each other whilst remaining in quarantine.” We’ll let you know if he does – and tell you how you can join in!
Perhaps surprisingly, many affected village traders think it’s a good decision. White Horse landlord Andy Hunt says: “Everybody now knows where they stand. These are difficult times that require difficult decisions. We are looking at everything from takeaways to home deliveries and helping the vulnerable in the community in the coming days and weeks. For now it’s about taking care of the staff and making sure that they get the support they need.”
Andy adds: “I’ve said before we have a great community spirit in this village and this will make it even stronger. I have been overwhelmed by the support and kind messages. These are very unusual times. If we get through this as a business – and that is a big if – we will come back bigger and better than previously.”
Lindsey Flint of the Victoria Tavern told us: “We stayed open as long as we were allowed to, but I understand that common sense is needed. However it will take a long time to resolve and recover. Challenging times ahead!”
Lesley Wells of The Old Bakehouse Tearoom said: “Terrible times for us all. I was closing anyway, tomorrow night, indefinitely. I’ll open again as soon as we are given the okay. It’s a very sad time and I’m not sure any small businesses are going to survive.”
Just around the corner on Church Street, Gino’s Restaurant today revealed its new takeaway service of pizza, pasta and more for its customers who are no longer allowed to dine in. You can find it >>HERE<<.
Demetris Lawton of Ruddington Fish Bar has announced from Monday (23rd March) they will be offering FREE chips to all NHS staff on production of a valid ID, subject to terms and conditions. However, he adds: “We will also be implementing stricter measures on customer distancing and amount of customers entering the shop at one time. We ask for people’s understanding that this is in the interests of everybody’s safety.” Read more >>HERE<<.
Local gyms are also required to shut down now. Jules Abbott of Compound Strength and Conditioning on Brookside Road says: “We made the early decision to close our doors at the beginning of the week in the interest of doing what’s best for the wider community. We are a small business, and this was a tough decision to make, but we hope to spend the foreseeable future helping people stay fit and healthy while working from home and assist the Ruddington community in any other way that we possibly can during this time. We will be posting daily home workouts, nutritional support, and other tips to keep positive during this time. Check out our Facebook page for free ways to keep moving. We can’t wait to be back soon!”
One glimmer of hope that independent village traders may be able to survive through the extended closures is Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the government will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month. It seems the promised loans will be available from this Monday.
Ironically, the pandemic has actually provided a boost for some local shops which, to date, are still being permitted to remain open. Not only have our Co-op and Sainsbury’s supermarkets – whose shelves have been repeatedly cleared by panic buyers – been doing unprecedented trade, but The Bottle Top and Ruddington Village Butchers have also seen big increases in footfall.
Alex Preston from The Bottle Top tells us: “We have cancelled all events planned but still remain open for off site sales of food and drink. We encourage Ruddington to support the businesses locally including the pubs, cafés and restaurants offering takeaway options. We will be doing what we can to support those businesses either by sharing there offers or stocking items from those business in the shop while we are able.” She adds: “Thank you to all our customers for the kind words and offers of support so far.”
Butcher Shane Ginty, who’d already decided to close his shop for good on April 11th due to a general lack of trade, reports: “After a busy day yesterday it was crazy today! I had Nicky serving with me for the first time since Christmas. I started at 6am this morning and worked non-stop until 8.30 this evening. I suspect I will have to close early tomorrow as I only have limited stock left to sell and the one supplier who delivers on Saturday has nothing to spare. I hope to get more meat in on Monday morning, though, so am considering opening next Tuesday to compensate for not being able to open this Sunday.”
Ruddington Village Centre Partnership has pledged to do whatever it can to help struggling Ruddington businesses through this unprecedented period. It’s urging all traders to write to their landlords, requesting a rent holiday to assist in the economic downturn, and to help them all survive. It’s also giving guidance about the Chancellor’s package of temporary and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Meantime its popular Ruddington Village Market planned for Saturday April 4th at The White Horse has now been cancelled.
Ruddington Library – which had been due to close after tomorrow (Saturday 21st March) – has been shut down a day early and will not reopen until further notice.
There’s more news about how COVID-19 Coronavirus is impacting Ruddington >>HERE<<.