The Burning Question

In association with Champagne Gosset

July 2020

Holidays and concerts and all sorts of stuff have been scuppered. To be honest I don’t really want to go anywhere, or go on a plane and do anything like that. I’ve got a friend who’s got a place in Whitby, so I might get there but it depends what the rest of the family wants to do. I think this year is written off! I don’t think I’ll be able to step away from the business at the moment anyway so holiday plans aren’t really on my radar.

Louise Smith, The Jug & Bottle, Bubwith

It was my first wedding anniversary in June and my husband and I had planned to go away for a week, but instead we went walking in the south west coast – it wasn’t quite the break in Cornwall that we had planned. The next thing we have planned is for November and hopefully by then there will be some semblance of normality. My husband is a pilot and his experience is that people are being fairly relaxed about face masks – as soon as they’re on board, the masks come off.

Polly Gibson, Grapesmith, Hungerford

It’s difficult for us because both Terry and I run the shop and we don’t have staff, so as and when we take a holiday we rely on a good friend of ours who covers for us. But he is a retired gentleman and he is having to look after his health at the moment. So this year we’re both independently taking the kids off to see different sets of relatives. I’ll be in Cornwall with my sister and then Terry has some pals coming down who will camp with their kids and our kids. It’s been lovely here and it looks like holiday season already!

Nichola Roe, Wine Therapy, Cowes

I won’t be taking a holiday this year but that’s because we’re looking at taking over the running of a deli about 25 miles away, and if it does happen, I can’t just then close for a couple of weeks and go away. If I had the option of a holiday, I’d be happy to fly because I don’t feel there is a huge risk to my personal health, but even if I got to Italy, for example, I don’t think we’d be able to walk around the streets and visit restaurants and nice bars, and that to me is what a holiday is.

Sam Howard, HarperWells, Norwich

June 2020

We just bought lots of hand sanitiser and that’s on a table by the door and at the till as well. We’re not wearing any masks, though quite a few of our customers are wearing them. We only have two members of staff on and it’s one in, one out for customers because we’re quite a small shop. We’re taking contactless payments but when it goes beyond the limit we just wipe down the card machine afterwards. We’re not using the Perspex or glass screens, but we have got tape signage on the floor.

Beata Ramsay, Theatre of Wine, London

I don’t have people coming into the shop at the moment as we have been running a click-and-collect and a delivery service. But I am starting to work towards re-opening. I’ve just bought a big bottle of hand sanitiser. I think the guidance is so unclear. Some people are going shopping at the moment and wearing masks and some aren’t. I think the route I will take is making sure handles are wiped down and hand sanitiser is available for everyone. I think a screen at the counter is a bit overkill.

Tom Flint, Bottle & Jug Department, Worthing

We have hand gel by the door and on the counter. We’ve got a really funny-looking cheap plastic screen. I can’t see through it but as long as it keeps the customers safe! The back of the shop has been turned into a packing area for internet sales and so we have less retail space and we are having a maximum of two people in the shop at any one time. We also have masks, which were quite expensive but we had them printed with our logo on and one with John Cleese on, as well as a Guinness one.

Matt Ellis, The Smiling Grape, St Neots

We’ve got gloves and masks and the shop is clearly marked with tape to indicate the two-metre markers for the customers. The masks were crazily overpriced but we got a box of pretty basic disposable ones. We had trouble getting a protective shield for the counter and we are just about to have some clear acrylic blinds fitted that pull down from the ceiling and attach to the counter. I thought it was worth the bit of extra investment as it’s about future-proofing; when we don’t need them we can retract them, but who knows if there’ll be a second wave or another pandemic?

Carol Edwards, The Wine Reserve, Chobham

April 2020:

The Burning Question April 2020

March 2020:Burning Question March 2020

February 2020:

Burning Question Feb 2020

January 2020:

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