Sadiq Khan urges Londoners to ‘shop safe’


Christmas shoppers in the capital this weekend have been urged to follow social-distancing measures and wear face coverings by the Mayor of London.

Sadiq Khan appealed to Londoners to keep a two-metre distance where possible as he said it was "vital" to work together to tackle rising coronavirus cases in the city.

Crowds were out and about in shopping districts of major cities on Saturday, including on London's Regent Street, which had been temporarily pedestrianised to aid with social distancing.

A joint statement from Mr Khan and Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said a "key" part of helping businesses recover from the crisis was "ensuring we get this deadly virus under control".

"With cases rising in many parts of the capital, it is vital that we all work together to control its spread," the statement said.

"Otherwise we may face tougher restrictions, which would greatly harm shops in the West End, our hospitality sector and the whole of London's economy.

"We are appealing directly to Londoners – when out shopping it is essential that you follow the rules."

Urging Londoners to wear a face covering in shops and socially distance from others, they advised avoiding travelling on public transport during rush hour and to walk and cycle "where you can".

"If you have symptoms – don't take a chance and don't go out. Self-isolate immediately and get a test," they added.

"Businesses across London have worked really hard to make their premises Covid-safe – but we must all play our part in following the rules. So this weekend shop safe."

Increased infection rates have led to fears the capital could be headed for Tier 3 restrictions, which would see hospitality settings closed except for takeaway.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics indicates the proportion of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in London and possibly in eastern England, but decreased in all other regions.

In an effort to tackle the spread in London, thousands of extra tests are being made available for schools in areas of concern.