We all know by now to wash our hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser (or alcohol-based hand rub since everywhere sold out of the branded stuff); cover your nose and mouth with tissues (or inside of elbow) when coughing or sneezing; and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
It appears that the virus itself can be managed, in most cases; the real problem is the fear of the unknown, spreading to irrational behaviour.
Official advice includes social distancing and self-isolation: stay at home unless you’ve got to work or get food and medicine. More official advice on what you can do if you’re worried about coronavirus here.
People are clearing the shelves of shops and supermarkets by bulk buying toilet roll and dried food because, ironically, they’re afraid shops may run out of bog roll and pasta.
Coffee shops like Starbucks are refusing to accept all reusable cups in fear of spreading the virus.
But one thoughtful Chorlton coffee lover sent their local indie cafe a message of support:
“I [usually] visit you [Stomping Ground Coffee] every Tuesday and Wednesday morning with my I Love MCR mug,” said the anonymous customer. “We have been told to work from home for the foreseeable future. I appreciate that with more companies doing this [working from home] it will increase the pressures on you.
“Therefore, for every week I am working from home (i.e still being paid) I am going to put the coffee money aside and give it all to you next time I see you. Hope you stay well.”
The owner of Chorlton-based mobile coffee shop Stomping Ground Coffee, James, replied: “I have some of the best customers going!
“It’s clear this whole Covid-19 thing has the chance to affect many small businesses that are reliant on their regulars and a constant cashflow to keep going. It’s certainly going to be a difficult few weeks ahead for all of us and wonderful messages like this definitely help.
“I never expected to get this kind of generosity and definitely don’t expect people to follow suit. The thought that people are thinking about us small guys is more than enough to help keep me moving forward.
“Where possible, if you’re being told to work from home, please help small businesses near to you by spending and supporting local. A great way to kick off my weekend.”
Imagine if everyone who is still being paid to work from home did the same…
The economy has taken a nose dive and the effects will continue. The travel sector has probably been hit the most, receiving little support from the government, and the only food and beverage businesses still operating with their heads above water are the ones who deliver.
“Whilst people should heed official Government advice and take the necessary precautions we also want people to continue to enjoy the night-time economy,” says perpetual Manchester supporter, Sacha.
“Our sector [night time economy] is very resilient and I have no doubt that if the right support measures are put in place by Government we can recover quickly.
“I will be keeping informed of the situation and will provide further updates in due course.”
Although we’re being advised to stay home, there’s no harm in exploring the sticks to get some pure oxygen in your system.
Freshwalks helps connect, educate and revitalise business people in the great outdoors.
“I’m no doctor but strengthening your immune system ahead of what’s coming in the next few weeks seems sensible,” said founder of Freshwalks, Michael Di Paola.
“Get outside, close to nature, exercise and sleep well.”
In a show of that all-familiar resilience and defiance, many brave local businesses are showing that they aren’t afraid to adapt.
“We are making some changes and we’d like you to know,” said Gary Usher, founder of Elite Bistros, the company behind Kala and Hispi.
“Starting from next week, we are closing all of our restaurants for two-and-a-half days a week. We feel that this will alleviate pressure from all of the teams, but also on the business as well.”
As a further measure to save business costs, executive chef, Richard Sharples, is currently reducing all of the menus to only signature and favourite dishes.
“This will minimise workload through the day when preparing for service and ultimately it’s going to reduce our costs and the amount of stock that we’re holding – which is really important,” said Rich.
Elite Bistros also demonstrated a selfless act in the video, with Mr Usher stressing that nobody should feel bad about cancelling a restaurant booking if they feel unwell.
We are making some changes & we’d like you to know.
I have no idea if this is the right decision. The future of Elite Bistro isn’t in our hands anymore but we will do our best by the teams & by the guests to adapt. We won’t give up. We won’t moan. We won’t beg. We will fight it X pic.twitter.com/jy9UiVkaqP
— GARY USHER (@GaryUsher_Chef) March 14, 2020
“Don’t feel worried about cancelling at the restaurant – we want you to cancel if you’re not feeling up to it. Give us a call, let us know and hopefully we’ll see you when all of this [COVID-9] gets better.”
This comes from a man who has shown many forms of kindness to the community through his bistro group.
“I have no idea if this is the right decision [changing the opening times and menus]. The future of Elite Bistro isn’t in our hands anymore but we will do our best by the teams and by the guests to adapt.”
He concluded his statement with some encouraging words: “We will not be considering doing deliveries and we wouldn’t dream of asking people to buy vouchers. Look after yourselves instead. We won’t give up. We won’t moan. We won’t beg. We will fight it.”
We at I Love MCR are encouraging people to support local businesses by purchasing gift vouchers to redeem at a later date when this is all over.
We are asking any local businesses feeling the brunt of the last few weeks to drop us a line so that we can let people know where to find you.
Let’s stick together and get through this. We’re resilient. We’re Manchester.