As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to sweep the United Kingdom, an initiative has begun to support doctors, nurses and other frontline hospital workers.
At the centre of the efforts to rally behind health workers, businesses within the food and hospitality sector are offering up their services to provide sustenance to exhausted caregivers.
Fresh Fitness Food is a London-based company that specialises in daily meal deliveries to athletes and gym-goers. But in the face of the coronavirus crisis, its CEO, Caspar Rose, said they’re offering heavily discounted meals to worn-out medical workers.
“Right now, it seems that people working in the National Health Service are not getting the nutrition they need. They’re not getting the basic meals they need. They say they’re finishing shifts that are 12 to 15 hours long and barely getting any rest. When they leave work, there’s no food available on the high street,” he told Euronews.
“We put a post on Instagram advertising for nurses, doctors and frontline NHS staff to get 50 per cent off our products. That costs the business some money but we’re willing to support these people in these times. We’ve been overwhelmed at the response,” he said.
Some businesses in the food sector are being forced to close because of a lack of customers. It follows advice from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who warned Britons against visits to pubs and restaurants in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Chelsea Lodge is a bar and restaurant in West London. Its owner Chase Hunter said the collapse in customer numbers had forced him to make the tough choice to close.
“The business has totally shut down. It’s fallen off a cliff. The government’s not really helping at all or giving us any guidance on where we’re going to go but we are still a community and we still need to help people. We still have staff that needs their final pay check and food that we don’t want to throw away,” he told Euronews.
But before the doors closed at his business, his team cooked hundreds of pizzas to give away to those who pledged money to support Britain’s elderly through the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that the community needs a lot of help right now. We’re raising money for Aged UK. Anyone that donates, and lets us know they donated in the Fulham and Chelsea area, we’re delivering them pizza on the back of my moped,” he said.
Political leaders in the UK have said it will take a “collective national effort” to beat the pandemic that looks set to worsen before it gets better. But in that battle, small businesses may well prove that kindness and community spirit will prove critical in helping the UK prevail.
On Friday, the UK government said companies will be able to apply for government grants to pay for salaries and that it will also cover 80% of wages of employees who are not working because of the outbreak.