Image of the front of the Debenhams store on Oxford Street, which has been boarded-up after being forced to shut during the coronavirus pandemic. The struggling department store chain, which employs 22,000 people in 142 stores, recently confirmed it had appointmented administrators. Debenhams’ Irish business, which employs 1,400 staff, will cease trading although the company aims to reopen as many stores as possible in the U.K. when government restrictions are eased. All stores are currently shut in line with coronavirus lockdown rules, with most employees being paid under the government’s furlough scheme, which covers up to 80 per cent of wages for three months.

London under lockdown.

London, and the rest of the U.K. was placed under lockdown measures on 24 March 2020, following a televised address to the nation by Prime Minister Boris Johnson the preceeding evening. The unprecedented measures on where and how people can meet and gather are some of the most draconian the country has ever faced. They include only going out to work if you cannot do so from home, and for those who are a home they can only go out to exercise or shopping. The rules, designed to stop the disease spreading between households, have resulted in a huge shift in how people behave. Empty streets, boarded-up business premises and a massive reduction in vehicles are some of the changes Londoners have seen.

The lockdown measures were a major escalation of the government’s response to the pandemic which first saw people being told to avoid all non-essential contact with others on 16 March. Four days later, all bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants were closed. Schools and childcare facilities, except for the children of key workers, were closed shortly after. The lockdown rules, brought in under emergency legislation, are required to be reviewed every three weeks by the government.

During the coronavirus pandemic we will be showing a daily image related to the impact on London. Images are taken by London-based photographer Kevin Frost.


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