HARDWARE store Homebase has temporarily closed all of its stores amid the coronavirus crisis.
On Monday evening, the government ordered all non-essential shops to shut to help stop the spread of the virus.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Hardware stores are technically classed as essential and are allowed to remain open, but like competitors Screwfix, B&Q and Wickes, Homebase has closed its stores to customers.
Homebase had initially reassured customers that it would remain open during the lockdown, as its large out of town locations meant that it would be easy to observe social distancing rules.
This is where people are told that they should stand at least two metres – six feet – apart to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and relieve the pressure on the NHS.
But following an update on government guidance which deemed the chain as being non essential, it stopped letting customers in stores from 6pm on Wednesday March 25.
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.
To receive The Sun's Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.
In a statement posted on its website, CEO Damian McGloughlin said: "We are now working through the best way to continue providing communities with access to essential products, while prioritising the safety of our team members and customers during this unprecedented time."
The hardware chain is still operating an online delivery service though, with orders in London expected to reach customers within five days.
Standard delivery is free of charge while next day or named day delivery costs £6.
However, it has suspended its store collection service due to "unforeseen high demand".
The DIY store also warned that online promotions may be withdrawn at late notice due to high demand.
The retailer also hopes that this will ensure that everyone gets what they need and discourages stockpiling.
It has also temporarily stopped design consultations for kitchen and bathroom fittings, although you can choose to speak to a trained design consultant over the phone instead.
Homebase is also warning that its customer service phone lines are struggling with the high volumes of demand.
"Please use the online contact form for any queries and a member of our team will respond to your query as soon as possible," a statement online reads.
A number of restaurants announced they would be shutting their doors, even for takeaway, including Greggs, KFC and Pizza Express.
We've also rounded up Argos coronavirus opening times and advice for ordering online.
You can find a full list of the stores that will remain open here.
Source: Read Full Article