BBC News

Coronavirus: Swindon businesses 'worried' by rise in cases

Published
Related Topics
  • Coronavirus pandemic
image captionThe rate of new cases per 100,000 people in Swindon has more than doubled in a week
Business owners in Swindon say they feel "vulnerable" and "worried" after coronavirus infection rates in the town more than doubled in a week.
A spike in cases in the town is being driven by an outbreak at an Iceland food distribution centre.
Public Health England (PHE) figures showed the rate of new cases per 100,000 people in the town was 48.6, up from 19.8 the previous week.
It was the largest rise in new cases in England in the week to 31 July.
Pub and restaurant owners in the town said they hoped they would not be forced to close their doors again just weeks after reopening.
Pascal Aiguier, from Jack's Restaurant in Old Town, said trade had been "steady" since he reopened last month, and it would be "very disappointing" if stricter measures were enforced.
He said: "I feel a bit vulnerable. I'm very conscious of procedures that we've got to follow.
"It would be a great shame if we had to close again so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed."
image captionPascal Aiguier said it would be "disappointing" to close again
Daniel Raisey, from The Victoria Inn, said: "We already had to throw away all our stock of beer when we locked down before.
"To have to do it again would be an extra kick in the teeth."
Wanda Hawkins, from The Pantry Coffee Shop, added: "We've been thinking about if we go back into lockdown, but we'd still be able to open.
"We've got our PPE in place, and restrictions in place, so we feel it will be OK. We're just going to play it by ear."
Swindon Borough Council's Jim Robbins said he was "relatively confident" the outbreak had been contained at the XPO Logistics site.
image copyrightGoogle
image captionA mobile testing unit has been testing staff at the distribution site since last week
Swindon South's Tory MP Robert Buckland has played down the possibility of a local lockdown, saying: "Whilst this is significant and serious incident, there is no evidence to suggest that Swindon is in a similar position to other towns that have seen community outbreaks."
The local authority confirmed a mobile testing unit has been testing XPO Logistics staff since last Wednesday and had tested 457 people by Friday.
It said that the firm was fully cooperating with local public health teams and hoped the outbreak would be over within a week.

Related Topics

More on this story

  • Iceland Covid-hit depot workers 'afraid to go back'