A rainy old day. I ran around the coast road to Gorey Pier – a regular little run – ready with my bus pass to get the no.1 bus back to my starting point. The harbour area is a pleasant spot in the shade of Mont Orgueil and busy with tourists in a normal summer. There’s a large, four-sided shelter where the buses turn around. The benches on all four sides were occupied this day. The bus arrived and I hesitated, waiting for those who had arrived earlier to climb aboard.
No one from the shelter moved a muscle. On I got and off we went.
It’s the new phenomenon, here in Jersey at least. The cafés, unable to seat customers due to Covid restrictions have embraced the takeaway (‘takeout’ in the States I believe). So where do you go with your takeaway? Of course, one of the many shelters constructed for bus passengers or, elsewhere, for the weary tourist. They’re packed. The rubbish bins are full of cardboard cups and more bins have had to be deployed at popular spots.
This pandemic has certainly galvanised many local businesses into survival mode and who have made changes to adapt to the new circumstances. One of the striking first examples of this was at the time of the first lockdown in March of last year. Suddenly our local fishermen had no sales outlets for their catches. What did they do? They started selling right there from the harbour, from the boats, via a hurried social media campaign. The response from the locals was excellent.
For general food shopping, queues formed outside supermarkets due to restrictions on numbers. In response, the supermarkets started to offer home deliveries, taking on extra staff to do so. Not to offer delivery was to risk losing market share.
Non-food retailers, classed as non-essential and therefore restricted even more, started to offer Click-and-Collect, rarely heard of before. Many upped their online presence with many more people now finding it easier to shop from their armchairs.
And never mind the cafés, the high-end restaurants are now offering takeaways and home deliveries to keep a little income flowing before life returns to ‘normal’. My local Chinese takeaway was rushed off its feet during first lockdown, the delivery guys couldn’t cope. However they are now quieter than previously as so many other places have joined the battle for the home delivery market. (Personally I still don’t understand why many people won’t stretch their legs a few yards to collect their food but I guess these are the times we live in.)
And when this is all over our retail landscape will most certainly have changed forever. I doubt it will be benefitting our previously thriving town centres though.