Coronavirus: Concern grows as Leicester shop owners fear the worst

By Thomas Carter

As the outbreak of the COVID-19 (commonly known as the coronavirus) continues to make news headlines across the world, many in the UK have begun to ask the question of whether they should be stockpiling for potential quarantine.

This angst has dramatically increased as of late due to images emerging online which show supermarket shelves rapidly emptying, sending waves of concern around the country.

Supplies such as toilet rolls and kitchen towels are emptying shelves in Leicester

One of the catalysts for this rise in worry is the now infamous video from a supermarket in Australia, where the police were called following a group of women seen fighting over packets of toilet roll.

While the social media frenzy (the video has been viewed over 20 million times online) is apparent, the concern for UK residents is also very evident, leading to many shops in the city centre of Leicester fearing the worst for their businesses.

Fortunately, Leicester is one of the few areas in the UK that has less than six confirmed cases of coronavirus, but this hasn’t stopped shop owners feeling detrimental effects.

Shelves are growing in sparsity among Leicester shops

Linda Naylor, the co-owner of a local convenience store, said: “Coronavirus has without a doubt affected our customer base.

“People are worried they will have to self-quarantine, and I think that has put them off going out in public as much.

“We have had noticeably less customers since the outbreak.

“Many of those who do come in are struggling to find the essentials for their weekly shop, with items such as toilet rolls and kitchen towels being purchased by panic-buyers in bulk.

“As a small supermarket, this mass buying has led to empty shelves and difficulties for our supply chain.”

In a press conference on Monday (16MAR), Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that “extended preparations” are in place for a move to the “suppression phase” for the UK, which could see the restriction of large-scale gatherings and potential for school closures.

As concern grows both domestically and globally, only time will provide the answer on whether our streets will be as baron as high street shop shelves.