Despite belated closures of schools and pubs there are still mass queues at various supermarkets today ignoring social distancing guidelines.
Supermarkets appear to be a major blindspot in strategies to prevent Covid-19’s spread. It’s of course difficult to separate those who need essentials, such as NHS staff from those who do not, and those in need are forced to wait for hours.
Since the photo was taken queues have extended further back:
Despite Government eventually relenting and closing schools and pubs after initially refusing, there are still mass numbers congregating together in other areas such as coastal resorts.
None of this bodes well. The death toll increase in the UK is similar to the trajectory seen in Italy two weeks ago, and they have a greater number of intensive care beds per head of population.
Appealing to people to stop queuing for supermarkets has not worked – and many need to queue. There are essential NHS staff waiting in that Woolwich queue who havn’t been able to buy for days. In some places they are being told to head to the front of queues and wait in densely crowded areas near doors.
What’s the solution? Far stricter controls at the door preventing anyone but key workers at times involving police- and for longer periods of the day? But then police numbers have been heavily reduced over the past decade – so that possibility is stretched. There’s no easy answers but this isn’t working.
UPDATE: It seems a similar issue at Lewisham Tesco. This is a tweet from Greenwich Council leader Dan Thorpe:
This morning I took my friend who works in the NHS to #nhshour at @Tesco in #Lewisham I can absolutely say it is not working. These are NHS staff queuing since 8 who thought it opened at 9 for them. And then people stopped joining the queue and headed for the doors. #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/7w35QX0eYs
— Dan Thorpe (@DanLThorpe) March 22, 2020