Countdown to Lockdown: Brits stock up at Primark, Aldi and Wetherspoons


Britons today are stocking up clothes and homeware, getting ready for their last night out and squeezing in a final gym session as the UK nosedives into a second lockdown. 

Today will be the ‘last hurrah’ for millions of Brits who, from midnight, will find their freedoms curtailed as they are told to remain indoors under draconian measures for the next four weeks. 

The shutters will come down on pubs, restaurants and non-essential stores by the end of the day, signalling the start of yet more swingeing restrictions. 

Today hordes of shoppers have been seen queuing outside retail stores including Primark and Ikea up and down the high streets, while eager revellers are already getting the rounds in at Wetherspoons.

And gym bunnies are hitting the treadmills and weights rack for one last session before they are forced back into home workouts for the next month.  

There were huge queues outside the Primark store in Sunderland this morning

Members of the public queuing at IKEA in Greenwich in south east London this morning

Members of the public queuing at IKEA in Greenwich in south east London this morning 

Scores of eager shoppers queued outside Primark in Newcastle city centre this morning

The line began to form at around 7am and snaked around the corner of the Primark store today

Shoppers in Northumberland Street in Newcastle, ahead of the national lockdown

Shoppers in Northumberland Street in Newcastle, ahead of the national lockdown

A man was left gobsmacked after spotting a fellow shopper buying trolley-loads of rice, pasta and crisps at an Aldi store in Lincoln ahead of the start of the new nationwide lockdown

A man was left gobsmacked after spotting a fellow shopper buying trolley-loads of rice, pasta and crisps at an Aldi store in Lincoln ahead of the start of the new nationwide lockdown

Shoppers in Northumberland Street in Newcastle hit the stores as they opened this morning

Shoppers in Northumberland Street in Newcastle hit the stores as they opened this morning 

Keen shoppers on Newcastle have been getting some last-minute bargains and Christmas gifts before the shops close

Keen shoppers on Newcastle have been getting some last-minute bargains and Christmas gifts before the shops close 

What are the rules for shops from Thursday? 

Shops that can stay open:

  • Food shops
  • Supermarkets 
  • Garden centres 
  • Retailers providing essential goods and services 

Shops that must shut (including but not limited to): 

  • Clothing
  • Electronics stores 
  • Vehicle showrooms 
  • Travel agents 
  • Betting shops
  • Auction houses
  • Tailors 
  • Car washes 
  • Tobacco and vape shops  

Scores of eager shoppers queued outside Primark in Newcastle city centre this morning to get their hands on bargains before the new rules come into force.

The line began to form at around 7am and snaked around the corner of the store as last minute buyers were out in force ahead of restrictions which come into place at midnight tonight.

The rules will see all non essential shops including clothes stores shut for a month.

People have taken to social media this morning to lament the closure of gyms, as they enjoy their last workout. 

A petition to keep gyms open has gained more than half a million signatures as furious Brits slam closures which they say will impact their physical and mental health.

In Lincoln, a shopper was filmed buying huge quantities of rice, pasta and crisps at an Aldi store.

Stuart Darben went into the store in Newark Road at around 11am on November 2 with his partner when he spotted a fellow shopper at the tills with a conveyor belt full of rice, pasta and crisps.

He said he couldn’t believe how much the shopper was buying. ‘There was rice, pasta and Doritos,’ he said. 

‘It was really busy in the shop. I was gobsmacked with what I saw and the shopper in front of me was too.

‘I could see another staff member looking at the till but I don’t think he wanted to say anything.

‘I turned to my partner and said, this shouldn’t be happening, it’s not right. I even said to the check-out operator, is it right he should be doing that?’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a revolt by some Tory backbenchers angry at the impact on civil liberties and the economic damage the measures will cause.

Rationing starts in Tesco 

Supermarkets are rationing their goods again as customers panic buy before lockdown.

Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambs, has put limits on essential goods, such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs, as shoppers panic buy before lockdown begins.

Supermarkets have been urging people not to stockpile items, but customers appear to be taking no notice and are stocking up on non-essential items and cupboard goods, just as they did back in March before the first national lockdown. 

Home delivery slots are also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots and taking to Twitter to complain. 

It is thought about 15 Conservative MPs could defy the whips and vote against the new controls – although the parliamentary arithmetic means their rebellion is likely to be largely symbolic.

In the latest sign of Tory unrest about the lockdown, former chief whip Mark Harper said he would join the rebels in the Commons later. 

But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the second national lockdown in England had been ordered ‘reluctantly’ and stressed that the economic implications had been considered.

The Cabinet minister denied that the Government had used a ‘doomsday scenario’ and ‘highly selective’ data in its modelling of the second wave’s impact when justifying the second lockdown on Saturday.

Asked on LBC radio whether people in England could mark the date of the end of the second national lockdown on their calendars, he said: ‘Put it in your diary, it is written into law.’

He added: ‘We didn’t want to do it, we’ve reluctantly done it as a last resort, and come December 2 we will revert to the tailored geographically-targeted approach because economically that is less painful.’

Ahead of the Commons vote, Mr Johnson warned of ‘fatalities running in the thousands’ if no action was taken as cases across the country continued to rise.

At the same time he sought to offer hope, telling Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting that the R number – the reproduction rate of the virus – was ‘only just above 1’ and the new measures would bring it back below that threshold.

Unlike the last national lockdown in March, schools and colleges will remain open under the new controls, which are due to run to December 2.

However, pubs and restaurants will be forced to close, except for takeaways and deliveries, as will gyms, entertainment venues and non-essential shops.

People will be banned from socialising with other households indoors, and only allowed to meet one other person from another household outdoors.

There has been criticism, however, over rules which mean children’s grassroots sports will be banned outside school settings. 

Social media has also gone into overdrive this morning as people share details of their last shopping trip, workout or pint

Social media has also gone into overdrive this morning as people share details of their last shopping trip, workout or pint

M&S shoppers book slots 

 Shoppers at Marks & Spencer can now jump the lockdown supermarket queue by booking a timed slot to enter the chain’s food halls.

With lockdown two starting on Thursday amid plunging temperatures, dismal scenes of supermarket queues and already booked out online delivery slots look set to become all too familiar once again.

Dubbed ‘Sparks Book and Shop’, M&S shoppers with or without a Sparks loyalty card can now visit its website and book a guaranteed time slot to shop at their local store without having to queue.

After a trial across 80 stores in Scotland and Wales, the scheme is now available to use across all M&S’s 566 food halls and larger stores containing food halls. 

Dominic Roberts, a store manager at M&S in Pontardulais, said: ‘At a time when it’s been hard to plan ahead, customers like the certainty of being able to book a slot and we’ve received great feedback about the service – especially as restrictions have increased.’

The move may prove popular for those who like to do a physical shop rather than head online to get groceries in.

Some Tories have also hit out at a ban on communal worship, which has meant church services marking Remembrance Sunday have had to be cancelled.

The latest Government figures showed that a further 397 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 47,250, while there were a further 20,018 lab-confirmed cases of the disease.

Ministers hope that when the restrictions are lifted the Government will be able to return to a tiered series of localised restrictions for England, depending on the infection rate in a particular area.

Social media has also gone into overdrive this morning as people share details of their last shopping trip, workout or pint. 

And revellers are getting the pints in early after Wetherspoons launched a four-day sale with pints of real ale for just 99p in a bid to clear stock before the winter lockdown.

Drinkers enjoyed cut price pints before pubs across the UK close at 10pm tonight.

Posters were put up in venues to promote the offer ahead of the second lockdown to shed stock.

Local pubs up and down the country have followed suit as they try to get rid of beer or risk pouring it down the drain.  

The Wetherspoon signs read: ‘Ahead of the four-week lockdown, rather than waste real ale, it has been reduced to 99p per pint.’

Spokesman Eddie Gershon said that ‘any real ales not sold between now and lockdown will have to be thrown away’.

He added that its ‘better that customers can enjoy it at a great price’ while the companies 900 pubs remain open.

Cider and lager will stay the same price, as these stocks will survive lockdown, but real ale will not last. 

Shoppers braved the chilly temperatures as they waited outside the Primark store in Sunderland this morning

Shoppers braved the chilly temperatures as they waited outside the Primark store in Sunderland this morning 

Keen bargain hunters in Newcastle hit the shops and stocked up on clothes, homeware and Christmas presents today

Keen bargain hunters in Newcastle hit the shops and stocked up on clothes, homeware and Christmas presents today 

Northumberland Street in Newcastle was thronging with crowds this morning - and it likely to be significantly quieter this time tomorrow

Northumberland Street in Newcastle was thronging with crowds this morning – and it likely to be significantly quieter this time tomorrow

Key points in COVID lockdown Mark 2 

  • People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home.
  • Non-essential shops will be told to shut
  • Restaurants and bars will be told to close unless they can operate a takeaway service. 
  • Travel abroad is only permitted for ‘essential’ reasons such as work, people can still return to the UK from abroad. 
  • Leisure centres, gyms, sporting venues, hairdressers and beauty parlours will have to close, although professional sport will continue. 
  • Key businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should carry on as before.
  • Places of worship can stay open for private prayer. Funerals are limited to close family only.  
  • The furlough scheme will be extended during the period of the lockdown 
  • Exercise is permitted with no limits on frequency, but organised sports – including outdoor activities such as golf – will not be permitted. 

Pints ordered by text, football at school but not at clubs, and 30 guests at funerals but only six for weddings: The odd new rules we face in the lockdown 

If you’re sad about not being able to drink at your local pub during the new lockdown, there is a way to drown your sorrows at home – order your pints via post instead!

Official regulations confirmed pubs and restaurants, hairdressers and most shops will have to close from midnight tonight, provided MPs approve Boris Johnson’s lockdown plans tonight.

But an 11th hour U-turn means pubs can now keep some kind custom going, as long as drinkers order by phone or website.

They will not be allowed inside the premises but will be able to turn up to collect their alcohol. 

The detailed second lockdown legislation revealed the curious anomalies when they were finally put out last night. 

Pubs will be able to sell takeaway drinks to customers who order online or by phone, text or post (stock image used)

Pubs will be able to sell takeaway drinks to customers who order online or by phone, text or post (stock image used)

The quirks of the new lockdown rules 

  • You can get a takeaway pint but only if you order online, by phone or by post
  • Children can play team sports in school but not outside 
  • Public parks and stately gardens are allowed to stay open, but not botanical gardens
  • You’ll be allowed to jog with a friend but you can’t play singles tennis 
  • Public land fishing is allowed but going to an angling club will be banned
  • You can go for a walk with a friend and your three-year-old, but not your six-year-old
  • Swimming pools and lidos will be closed but you’ll be allowed to swim in the sea or a lake
  • Private prayer in places of worship is allowed, but not congregational 
  • Cleaners, carers and trade workers are allowed to work in your home  
  • You can meet people you don’t live with – but only one-to-one and only outdoors for exercise or recreation 

What are the rules for takeaway drinks from pubs?

In an 11th hour move last night, the Government decided pubs could open for takeaway drinks.

In a relaxation of the original plans expected to start tomorrow, punters will be able to collect pre-ordered alcohol – on the condition they do not enter a pub or bars’ premises. 

The drink must be ordered via a website, phone or text message while venues can also deliver beverages. 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, told the BBC: ‘Takeaway alcohol from pubs if it is pre-ordered and customers don’t enter the premises is movement, but still not anywhere near enough.

‘Supermarkets and off-licences can still sell alcohol, so this is grossly unfair on pubs with off-licences. It remains the case that to help pubs and brewers survive, and to stop up to 7.5 million pints from being wasted, the government needs to give pubs the same ability to sell off-licence alcohol as it did in the first lockdown.’

What are the rules and punishments? 

The complex rules, enforced by fines of up to £10,000 tripped up two Cabinet ministers yesterday.  

Michael Gove was forced to apologise after wrongly suggesting people could play tennis and golf with one other person – both sports are in fact banned. 

And Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick wrongly said a family could meet up with a friend in the park. 

Downing Street confirmed only one adult can meet up with another adult from a different household outside unless they are in a support bubble.

Children will be permitted to play football and other team sports at school under a number of curious anomalies (stock image used)

Children will be permitted to play football and other team sports at school under a number of curious anomalies (stock image used) 

The Rules of Sups: How to get pub drinks in the second lockdown 

The government has u-turned on pubs a day before the second national lockdown comes in to allow them to sell takeaway drinks.

New rules state that drinkers can order their tipple through websites, phone of text and collect at the door.

They are not allowed to go inside the premises, in the move which has been hailed by some pubs and bars.

But some were unhappy they were unable to operate in the same way shops do, with walk-up custom prohibited under the regulations.

They want the facility to be there so they can act similarly to a takeaway, which was how things operated in the first lockdown. 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said: ‘Takeaway alcohol from pubs if it is pre-ordered and customers don’t enter the premises is movement, but still not anywhere near enough.

‘Supermarkets and off-licences can still sell alcohol, so this is grossly unfair on pubs with off-licences. It remains the case that to help pubs and brewers survive, and to stop up to 7.5 million pints from being wasted, the government needs to give pubs the same ability to sell off-licence alcohol as it did in the first lockdown.’

Kate Nichols, of lobby group UK Hospitality, said: ‘It is a welcome and helpful clarification that pubs and restaurants will be permitted to continue with off-licence sales of alcohol through delivery, as well as click and collect for pre-ordered sales.

‘This was a lifeline to many businesses in the first lockdown and it is good to see common sense prevail this time too – avoiding waste and providing a valuable community service – although we can see no reason why a pub could not operate as a retail outlet for pre-packaged food and drink as many did last time.’

Although pubs and restaurants will be allowed to sell take away food, Downing Street had previously said they would be banned from selling alcoholic drinks to take away.

However, the new regulations state pubs will be able to sell drinks to takeaway customers, provided they have been ordered via a website or by telephone, text or post.

The move was welcomed last night by the Society of Independent Brewers, which said that small brewers and pubs had ‘proven their ability to trade responsibly during Covid’.

Can I go to work?

Everyone who can work from home must do so. 

Those who can’t can continue going into work.

What are the rules for schools? 

People are allowed to attend school, university or another place of education or training.

This also means there is scope for at-home teaching and tutoring, such as music lessons, but the government has advised a move to online teaching where possible.

Secondary school pupils and teachers in England could also be told to wear masks on the premises. 

Children will be permitted to play football and other team sports at school, but banned from playing with schoolmates at local clubs. 

What are the rules on sport? 

Ministers faced a growing backlash over the clampdown on sport.

Pupils cannot play football and other team sports outside of school despite evidence the virus doesn’t spread well in children. 

The rules prompted anger among sports figures who argue they are ‘nonsensical’ and pose a threat to children’s health.

Yesterday, sports figures led opposition to the Government’s ban on children playing sports outside school.

Football pundit Robbie Savage branded the plans ‘nonsensical’ as he said there were inconsistencies in allowing children to mix during school but not while playing grassroots sports at the weekend.

And Damian Collins, who was previously chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, urged the Government to reconsider its position. 

Funerals will be allowed to go ahead with up to 30 guests under new lockdown rules (stock image used)

Funerals will be allowed to go ahead with up to 30 guests under new lockdown rules (stock image used) 

M&S shoppers book slots 

 Shoppers at Marks & Spencer can now jump the lockdown supermarket queue by booking a timed slot to enter the chain’s food halls.

With lockdown two starting on Thursday amid plunging temperatures, dismal scenes of supermarket queues and already booked out online delivery slots look set to become all too familiar once again.

Dubbed ‘Sparks Book and Shop’, M&S shoppers with or without a Sparks loyalty card can now visit its website and book a guaranteed time slot to shop at their local store without having to queue.

After a trial across 80 stores in Scotland and Wales, the scheme is now available to use across all M&S’s 566 food halls and larger stores containing food halls. 

Dominic Roberts, a store manager at M&S in Pontardulais, said: ‘At a time when it’s been hard to plan ahead, customers like the certainty of being able to book a slot and we’ve received great feedback about the service – especially as restrictions have increased.’

The move may prove popular for those who like to do a physical shop rather than head online to get groceries in.

He said: ‘If we recognise that children are better off in school, even with Covid, then I think we should recognise they’re better off doing grassroots sports than… being stuck at home.

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘Sport is permitted in school settings. In terms of outside, we do need to reduce transmission from households mixing. 

‘As soon as can resume grassroots sports for children, we will.’

What are the rules on outdoor venues? 

Nature lovers will be allowed to visit parks and gardens, including paid-entry venues like the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley in Surrey. 

But they will be banned from visiting many botanical gardens and sculpture parks. 

However, Kew Gardens in south-west London, said it will remain open – though its buildings, including glasshouses, will be shut. 

Can I visit my second home? 

People will be banned from visiting second homes unless they need to carry out work required for the potential sale or rental of the property.

What about funerals and weddings? 

Funerals will be allowed to go ahead with up to 30 guests, but weddings will be limited to six people.

Can I leave the country?

No. The government is advising against all but essential international travel and only for work. However, reasons for travel will not be checked. 

Travel within the country is also discouraged. 

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