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Shop safe this weekend to save lives and Richmond’s businesses

Release Date: 10 December 2020

As the rates of COVID-19 are rising in the capital, the possibility of more severe COVID-19 restrictions looms over London’s residents and businesses.

Richmond Council is calling on all residents to be extra safe and vigilant this weekend to save lives and jobs.

This weekend is critical, with many shoppers, retailers and those in the hospitality sector experiencing high numbers of interactions in the busy but essential period of Christmas shopping. This has been a challenging year for local businesses and they need to keep trading. Without support from shoppers, these businesses will not survive.

While it is vital we all do our bit to support our local businesses, the latest data shows that rates of coronavirus infection are on the rise in most London boroughs, including in people aged 60 and over who are most at risk of serious illness or death. Whilst the case rate in Richmond upon Thames is lower than most of London, across the capital if cases continue to rise, the whole city will be moved into Tier 3 with greater restrictions to protect residents from the virus.

Tier 3 restrictions include the closing of all hospitality settings such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“Local businesses have worked hard to ensure that their shops and restaurants are COVID-secure and it is absolutely vital, if we want to ensure our borough high streets have a future, that we do what we can to support them. But while doing so we must make every effort to minimise rates of infection and, in doing so, do all that we can to avoid further, more severe, restrictions being imposed.

“We should be under no illusion that just because our rates are currently low in comparison with the rest of London that we are now safe. We're not. Cases are rising across London and unless steps are taken now to control that upward trend, we could find ourselves facing being placed into Tier 3 which would have a devastating impact, particularly on our hospitality sector.

“This is, without doubt, the most dangerous phase of the pandemic. A combination of complacency caused by the start of vaccinations, combined with a greater number of people out and about doing Christmas shopping and visiting our hospitality venues could have a serious, negative impact on our infection rates and risk undoing all the hard work we have done over recent months.  

“However, we can do our best to avoid this and, at the same time, throw a lifeline to our local high streets and businesses by making sure we shop extra safely this weekend and in the coming weeks. By doing so, we will save lives and the jobs that would inevitably be lost if London went into Tier 3 restrictions where pubs and restaurants are closed.

“Please can everyone stick to the rules around Hands. Face and Space. If we do not – we will see a huge surge in infections, more restrictions and further risk to the future of our many local, but financially fragile businesses.”

View our coronavirus pages for further information on COVID-19.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P491/20

Updated: 24 March 2021