The Chancellor of The Exchequer
With the eyes of a nation, and the ears of the rest of the world on them, the actions taken and decisions made by the UK government are crucial in how the UK is going to deal with not only COVID-19 itself, but also the immense ramifications to every industry and sector imaginable once the ‘worst’ is past us.
Kudos then, to Chancellor Rishi Sunak for unveiling a financial package this week for the businesses that are going to take a big hit due to the impact of the virus.
Confirmed on Tuesday afternoon was £330bn in loans, £20bn in additional aid for those at the greatest risk, a business rates holiday and grants for those operating in the retail and hospitality sectors, and a potential cash injection for airlines and aviation businesses.
As the Chancellor stated during his speech, the world hasn’t seen an economic emergency like this one in peacetime; so to be able to have some reassurance from a government clearly just taking each day as it comes did provide at least some comfort to those waking up each morning, unsure if they still have a job, company or income.
Whilst many companies have offered to do what they can for the loyal and dedicated hospital workers jeopardising their time and health fighting the virus, there are some going above and beyond to showcase their appreciation for the heroes.
On Wednesday morning, Pret-A-Manger announced that all NHS staff in its outlets would be eligible for free hot drinks and an additional 50% off all other food sold in-store, with McDonald’s also offering free drinks to all NHS workers, emergency services personnel and health and social care staff.
Finally, pizza chain Domino’s announced that today, all NHS staff will be able to claim a free medium-sized pizza from one of branches if they are able to provide their staff ID badge.
Kindness from such huge corporate brands will surely not go unnoticed once we emerge from this pandemic.
As I’m sure you’ll all agree, the endless images of empty supermarket shelves and the news reports of panic-buyers stockpiling hundreds of toilet rolls, bags of pasta and tins of baked beans has made for a shockingly disappointing sight over the recent weeks.
The sheer selfishness of some people has left many elderly and vulnerable people in a position where they’re unable to find essential items they need in their local supermarkets, with no other way of accessing them.
Luckily, two UK supermarkets, Iceland and Sainsbury’s, have introduced ‘elderly-only’ shopping time for the foreseeable future. Effective immediately, the first hour of trading for the two brands will only be applicable to those aged 70+ or with a disability, in order for them to find the goods they’d be otherwise missing out on.
Let’s just hope the other supermarkets now follow suit.
The National Trust
Whilst self-isolation is the clear message being circulated during the pandemic, one cannot forget that those without the virus or showing symptoms are still able to leave the confinement of their home in order to get exercise and fresh air, as long as they maintain safe distances from others.
So thank the lord for The National Trust, which has announced that all of its parks and gardens will remain open for the general public to enjoy in the following weeks, totally free of charge. All cafes, restaurants and manned establishments will close in the interest of safety, but what a lovely gesture for those seeking peace and solace in the great outdoors during such a scary time.
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen
If I’d had to put my money on the celebrity couple that would’ve been providing us with entertainment and comic relief during this virus outbreak, it would’ve been the absolute golden couple that are John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. The Grammy-award-winning singer surprised his fans the world over with a live-streamed concert via Instagram from his home on Monday evening, but his supermodel wife was the star of the show, as she sat at the piano draped in nothing but a bath towel and offering her own hilarious commentary throughout.
Factor in the adorable appearance of their three-year-old daughter Luna to the audience, and it couldn’t have made for better entertainment, or the reality check that this virus is affecting even the most famous and ‘untouchable’ of stars around the globe.
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