Co-op colleagues issue Atherstone with ‘you don’t have to leave home’ Easter message in bid to avert Covid-19 lockdown breakout

  Posted: 10.04.20 at 14:59 by Nick Hudson

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STORE managers at Atherstone’s biggest retailer have joined nationwide pleas for people to “stay home unless absolutely necessary” and not be tempted by the Easter sunshine to break coronavirus lockdown measures.

The town’s Co-ops urged people only to make trips for groceries and essentials plus their once-daily exercise “as advised” over the bank holiday – resisting thoughts of going to “people and places further afield”.

With the message “I have to leave my home this Easter weekend – you don’t have to”, the retail giant is bolstering Government calls not to give Covid-19 a second chance to kill more people.

Yesterday, stand-in PM Dominic Raab said the country “is not done yet” with making social distancing sacrifices to beat the virus – and staying within home surroundings over the four-day holiday period was crucial to “not ruining” the gains made by keeping to the restrictions over the last few weeks.

Social forums across Atherstone have already played their part with followers voicing their anger and frustration at those contemplating breaking ranks as the UK death toll rose by 881 to just short of 8,000.

Today that was emphatically emphasised with the death announced of retired Atherstone 3M worker Roy Allitt after losing a 10-day battle to the virus and news that 866 more people have died in England in the previous 24 hours – bringing the current toll to 8,114.

The Central England Co-op’s Retail Heroes have been going above and beyond to support their communities as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to alter the public’s day-to-day lives.

The Station Street and Long Street managers have thanked members and customers for their continued support but urged people not to make unnecessary trips over the Easter bank holiday.

A Central Co-op spokesman said: “We are proud to serve our local community during these unprecedented times, ensuring they have their food and essentials.

“We love seeing our members and customers in store but I would also encourage everyone to only pop out for their food and essentials and their daily exercise as advised.

“With it being a long bank holiday weekend, it could be tempting to go out and visit people and places farther afield, but I would urge people to stay local and stay home where possible.

“I have to leave my home this weekend – you don’t have to. Stay home, protect front line workers and save lives.”

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local Co-op community by clicking here.

Meanwhile, the Co-op has pulled its Easter TV advertising campaign and donated the airtime to help fight hunger during the current crisis.

The original plan was to advertise its chocolate eggs, but £2.5 million worth of advertising will now promote the work of charity FareShare. –

In partnership with FareShare, the Co-op has created a new charity TV ad which is a tribute to the local heroes who are playing their part in feeding the nation.

The advert launches the new scheme which helps and encourages customers to support food banks by either donating in-store or via a text to a dedicated number, both of which will boost the £1.5 million of food the Co-op has already pledged to FareShare.

Jo Whitfield, retail chief executive of the Co-op said: "In these times of national crisis, foodbanks are a lifeline for those who rely on the donations to feed their families.

"Demand for foodbank services has already gone up in the past couple of weeks, and this is only set to grow as the number of people who unexpectedly find themselves without a regular or reduced income, increases."

"Every day we are seeing outstanding acts of kindness as communities pull together to support those who are struggling, and our amazing Co-op members and customers tell us they want to help to support their communities and do right by those in greatest need."

In addition, The Big Issue is to be sold in Co-op stores in a boost to sales of the magazine since vendors stopped selling it on the streets because of the coronavirus crisis.

The move follows a similar announcement by Sainsbury's and McColl's, which are both now stocking the weekly magazine, the first time this has happened in The Big Issue's 29-year history.

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