It’s normally a hive of activity with families shopping and workers enjoying a quick lunch break, but now Solihull’s Mell Square is deserted.
The numerous coffee shops wait patiently for a time when the baristas will cheerfully serve up an array of continental coffees once again while the sound of ringing tills is limited to the few retailers allowed to open their doors.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic means the once bustling shopping area is eerily quiet with just the odd shopper or workman spotted strolling by.
Well-known eateries including Costa Coffee and Cafe Nero are closed as are many of the High Street names like Dorothy Perkins and Thorntons.
The newly launched Taste Collective enjoyed a short period of popularity before it too waits to reopen while even the popular carousel that has thrilled hundreds of children over the years is nowhere to be seen.
Only ‘essential retailers’ are still open including Boots, Marks & Spencer food hall and Sainsbury’s.
Shops that are exempt from the Government’s ban are food retailers, pharmacies, hardware stores, corner shops, petrol stations, post offices, banks, newsagents, shops in hospitals, laundrettes and pet shops.
In Mell Square, Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall says it is operating within normal business hours. The first hour will be for the elderly and the vulnerable on Mondays and Thursdays and NHS & emergency workers will be able to shop on Tuesday and Fridays at these times. Deliveries are still ongoing although only contactless payments will be accepted. The retailer added that its Collect By Car service is still in operation but The M&S Café has been closed until further notice.
Supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi and Waitrose have introduced special shopping times for NHS workers and the elderly and vulnerable. Click here to read the article.
Most banks are open although many are operating reduced hours of business.