Kingston’s streets swelled with people returning to the borough’s shops, cafe and salons en masse today (Monday, April 12) after months of lockdown restrictions on non-essential commerce were eased.
Photographs showed large queues outside some of Kingston’s most popular shopping centres and sites, while other people could be seen waiting patiently in distanced chairs for their first professional beauty treatment or haircut in months.
The scenes mirrored those across south London on Monday as Londoners embraced the hard-earned freedoms of low coronavirus infection rates despite the cold early April weather.
“We are delighted that businesses across the borough can now reopen, it will be fantastic to welcome shoppers back to our town centres and high streets,” Nazeya Hussain, executive director of place at RBK, said ahead of Monday’s reopening.
“Kingston has so many vibrant local businesses, and we want to say thank you to all those who have supported our communities throughout this pandemic,” he added.
Iona Lidington, the borough’s director of public health, meanwhile urged residents to continue following basic Covid safety precautions and get tested to help keep infection rates low.
“While cases of COVID-19 are decreasing, the virus has not gone away,” she said.
“We all still have a vital role to play in stopping the spread of the virus by following the rules and remembering the life saving prevention behaviours of hands, face, space and fresh air.
“We want to make sure Kingston stays open and that we can all support and enjoy our wonderful local businesses in a safe way.
“Everyone can also now have free twice-weekly rapid result tests, for people without COVID-19 symptoms.
“This will help stop on-ward spread and thereby keep levels of the virus in the borough as low as possible. Check our website for information on where you can get these tests, and please help us to continue to Keep Kingston Safe.”