/ Shopping

How will your local shops deal with another lockdown?

While supermarkets are equipped to carry on through lockdowns, things can be different for small businesses and local shops. How are yours coping?

As England joins Wales and Northern Ireland in a national lockdown today, we’d like to know how your local shops, such as independent retailers, convenience stores, cafĂ©s, pubs and takeaways have adapted to help keep their communities well served.

Back in May, we celebrated the unsung heroes of the pandemic with stories of community groups, food parcels and daily deliveries to the vulnerable.

We also took a lot at how our own Which? Trusted Traders had been supporting their local communities.

We think it’d be great to shine that light on your local small businesses as they strive to stay open and keep moving through difficult times.

Sharing your stories

I’ve been asking around Which? to see what everyone’s local shops have been up to through the first lockdown in England and the ‘circuit breaker’ in Wales where our offices are based.

We’re hoping you can add to the stories from Scotland’s five-level system and Northern Ireland’s own circuit breaker in the comments.

Some of the stories I’ve been told have been fantastic – such as the Crown Inn pub in Keynsham providing free meals for children as some local families struggle with the effects of the pandemic.

Many businesses have been mentioned as converting to delivery services in order to continue providing for their communities, and I’m told the Co-Op in Bourton on the Water has given residents the opportunity to email in their orders, reducing the time they need to spend inside the shop itself.

Farmers markets in Cardiff have adapted to provide home deliveries, while pubs in London have even become deli shops.

In Rugby, smaller independent bakeries teamed up to provide free meals for children over half term.

Over to you!

It’s been great to hear some of the stories from Which? staff, but now we’d like to hear yours. How did your local shops and other businesses that were able to remain open cope the first time around?

Do they have plans to make changes to how they operate and serve their communities as the second lockdown begins in England? And how have things already been going in Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as those in Scotland’s highest tiers?

And will you be doing your shopping locally yourself, or opting for online delivery slots?

Let us know in the comments, and help us celebrate the local businesses who’ve been going the extra mile through such a difficult period.

How are you shopping during lockdown?
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Comments

I have been ordering online from supermarkets since March. I have generally opted for click & collect at Morrisons or Tesco. Disappointingly our local Waitrose insists that customers enter their busy shop when doing a collection, which is probably why there are plenty of collection slots available but often there is often not a single delivery slot available. These three supermarkets have jointly served my needs except for yeast and bread flour, where I had to enlist help.

I coordinate my online shopping with a friend so that our orders are staggered. We each place an order every ten days, yet we can still have fresh food every five days.

Our village shop has offered to do deliveries for those who are struggling. I do hope that those shops that are prepared to make an effort manage to survive these difficult times.

Waterloo Tea in Cardiff did an amazing job with organising the #feedtheheath campaign where dozens of local restaurants donated fresh, hot meals to healthcare workers at the university hospital. Thousands of meals were delivered to tired and hungry workers. We couldn’t get off the wards so that shining light of a good meal helped ja through. I will be supporting them through lockdown. Our local heroes.

David Foster says:
6 November 2020

Your article about procedures being carried out by all supermarkets that responded doesn’t ring true I’m afraid. Allowing for the fact that the supermarket has no control over its customers they appear to be unable to get there own staff to maintain social distancing. We shop regularly in different supermarkets and it is the staff that barge past regardless of space while they are stacking shelves or order picking. Whilst shopping in Asda once I asked a staff member why she couldn’t follow the one way aisle format, her response was that she didn’t have to follow the guidance! It is all very disappointing I’m afraid.

Hi David, sorry to hear about the experiences you’ve had in supermarkets – did you complain to the stores directly? Please also let us know which article you’re referring to that you feel doesn’t ring true – we’ll pass your feedback on. Thank you

It’s all very well saying shop local if the local stores have what you need. But I all too often find that they don’t and I often have to travel miles away from home to get stuff I need, or else mail order it from even further away. And you simply can’t mail order everything, some things you need to see before you buy.

The local shops in Northern Ireland have really risen to the occasion. From click and collect to deliveries by staff they have been super helpful. Our shops are still open here at the moment though so not so much a problem at the moment. Interestingly I know of a couple of businesses that would have depended on events and shows and they have transitioned to a bricks and mortar shop as well as deliveries.

There is a new restaurant near the back gate of my son’s school. They had a slide window installed at the side and do take away coffee and snacks for hungry and caffeine deficient parents. Really good example of locally run business adapting amazingly well.

I must be one of the really lucky persons in UK, I am on PIP, live by myself, but have a sister who lives about 5 minutes walk away, if I need transport to hospital, which has happened three times since March. I can use a taxi if needed to go down to centre of town, which is in essence a ghost town. I am a retired historical researcher so I mainly use my computer to do any research, so I am now totally independent! The NHS has been brilliant when needed, I have not seen my GP since March, [when I started my first bout of self isolation] but talked to him when advice is needed, I suffer from claustrophobia, amongst my many other medical woes, which does not help, but I can walk around the block with mask if weather and my general disposition allows me! Stay Safe

Shaun, it is always good to hear from people with a positive attitude. It is what we all need, particularly in difficult times. We need “to make the best of it”.