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Mixed bag for retailers as coronavirus fears grow

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A sign reading ‘hand sanitiser available here’ flaps in the wind outside a food shop in West Croydon.

Abid Budd who works at Savemore in London Road says that since the coronavirus outbreak the shop has been busier than usual.

“People say they are stocking up,” he adds. “We are busy because of the panic buying.”

As people are stocking up on painkillers pharmacies have seen a surge in customers – including A-Z Pharmacy in London Road where the hand sanitiser shelves were empty.

Ulka, who works there, said: “People are buying a lot more paracetamol, we have been very busy. We have been disinfecting and I might start wearing a face mask.”

But not all businesses in the area have had the same experience.

Marcella Hanganu runs Middle Eastern Restaurant down the road, and says that far less people have been coming in to eat.

“We are cleaning the place more regularly using bleach and anti bacterial. I think people are scared, since the second person died last week everyone ran away, less people are coming in.

“We are worried if shops have to be closed, many people are not coming out anymore.

“We think in a few weeks we might have to close. We still have to pay our rent, council tax and business rates.

“And we are worried about our supplies because all the supermarkets are running out.”

Nick Tapper works at a shoe repair shop next to West Croydon Station.

He said: “Trade has taken a dip. I think less people are coming in. I think it will pick up again once it has reaches its peak.

“Personally I am not worried about it.”

As of 9am on March 12, the United Kingdom had tested 29,764 people for the virus. It had 590 confirmed cases and 10 people have died.

There are 136 confirmed cases in London, one of which is in Croydon.

Visit GOV.UK page for the most up to date information and guidance on the virus.

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