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  • Writer's pictureThe Bridge Burford

Coronavirus Diary Part 2

22 June 2020

Madhatter Reopens

The Madhatter Bookshop is reopening on Wednesday 24 June from 9am to 2 pm. Note the new logo. There will be more details in the July edition of The Bridge which is currently being printed and should be out in a few days' time in print form and on this website.

15 June 2020

Burford Businesses Reopen

A walk along the High Street this morning revealed that the following shops and businesses had reopened:

Charles Clinkard Shoes

Burford Sweet Shop

Oxford Shirt Company (by appointment only)


Tayler & Fletcher

Country House Gifts

Three French Hens

Lynne's shop

Stone Gallery

Penny & Sinclair

Manfred Schotten

Slate Clothing will reopen on Thursday 18 June

11 June 2020

Cotswold Wildlife Park Reopening

The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Garden will reopen to visitors on Wednesday 17 June at 10.00am.

Numerous safety measures have been put in place. For the time being indoor exhibits, the shop, restaurant and train will be closed. Kiosks will be open serving ice creams, snacks and hot and cold drinks. Visitors are encouraged to book online in advance to reduce cash handling . (It's also cheaper). The park is a great asset to our area and has been having a hard time during lockdown, so we would encourage local residents to support it.

5 June 2020

More Reopenings

A number of cafés and pubs in our area are now open to provide either drinks and snacks over the counter or takeaway food to order in advance. Those open over the counter include Linwoods, the Bakery on the Hill and the Priory Tearooms (all in Burford). Takeaways can be ordered from the Highway Inn and the Angel (Burford), the Swan (Swinbrook), the Maytime Inn (Asthall), the Carpenters Arms (Fulbrook), the Firehouse at Upton Smokery, the Fox (Great Barrington) and the Inn for all Seasons (near the Barringtons). Most, if not all, of these are only offering takeaways on certain days of the week. There may be others we have not been told about.

In addition the Angel is offering takeaway drinks which can be added to a food order or you can buy the drinks without food simply by turning up on Friday or Saturday evenings between 6 and 9pm or Sundays from 12 to 3pm. Drinks available are Hooky Ale, Amstel lager, Stowford Press cider, Merula stout and Cotswold Pale.

The Oxford Shirt Company will reopen on 15 June but for the week from then until 22 June it will only be possible to shop there if you make an appointment in advance. Call 01993 822298 or email We imagine that other Burford shops will also be reopening but have no more details at the moment.

Did Cheltenham Races Help Spread Covid-19?

Sir David King, a former government chief scientific adviser, is reported to have said that the Cheltenham Festival was "the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the [Covid-19] virus". The four day event was attended by 150,000 people and ended on 13 March, ten days before the government ordered the lockdown. The BBC Radio 4 programme The World Tonight reported that three of the ten local authorities with the highest proportion of deaths from the virus were Cheltenham, Tewksbury and West Oxfordshire, places visited by many of those attending the festival. There have been calls for an enquiry into the decision to allow the festival to go ahead. The government and the racing authorities say that the decision was based on the scientific advice available a the time.

20 May 2020

Businesses Reopen

Jesse Smith Butchers, formerly W.J. Castle, are reopening for business tomorrow, Thursday 21 May.

The Upton Firehouse is offering takeaway pizzas on Wednesday evenings and takeaway barbecue on Friday evenings. 01993 823612 or email or visit

15 May 2020

Burford Garden Company Reopens

The garden centre in Burford reopened "cautiously" today. It is open for its usual hours, 9-6 on weekdays and 11-5 on Sundays. The Bridge sent a team of reporters to investigate and they said that things were going smoothly and it was not especially busy, although staff said there was a rush first thing. There are separate routes in and out with staff advising what to do, trolleys are being disinfected and hand gel dispensers are sited by the entrances. There are elaborate arrangements for self-distancing at the checkouts. Basically you put your items on a table and then retreat. The assistant enters your shopping on the till, bags it up and puts it in your trolley. They then retreat and you advance with your card to make payment. Only card payments are accepted. The café is still closed.

14 May 2020

Letter to The Times

Sir, Further to the publication of the new government guidelines it would now seem obvious that, should I wish to visit my children in their home, I have two options: either I persuade them to put a “For Sale” notice up outside their house or I become their cleaner. Having had much experience of the latter as they grew up perhaps I should try the former.

Robin Harmar

11 May 2020

Dix Pit To Reopen On 18 May

Dix Pit household waste recycling centre near Stanton Harcourt will reopen on Monday 18 May. Residents are being urged to hold their visit unless it is absolutely essential. Long tailbacks are expected at the site run by Oxfordshire County Council. These are set to be exacerbated by reduced opening hours (8am to 4pm) and the number of vehicles accessing the site being reduced by 50 per cent to allow for social distancing.

Government guidance says that trips to a recycling centre should only be made if ‘essential’ – that is if the waste cannot be stored safely without harm to health. 

It adds: “It would be reasonable for residents to undertake a journey to a HWRC if the waste or recycling could not be stored safely at home or disposed of through other legitimate routes such as a dedicated collection. By this we mean that the waste/recycling could not be stored on their property without causing a risk of injury, health or harm to the resident or other members of their household or harm to public health and amenity.”

10 May 2020

Oxfordshire Hard Hit By Lockdown

The Times reported on 9 May that lockdown has hit Oxfordshire’s economy harder than any other part of the country as spending in areas reliant on tourists and students has fallen at almost twice the pace of elsewhere.

Card transactions in the county fell by 56 per cent in the three weeks to April 28 compared with 32 per cent across Britain as a whole, according to bank data. The University of Oxford is closed, as is Oxford Brookes, and there has been a collapse in visitors to the county. Bicester Village shopping complex, another attraction, is also closed.

The true decline in these areas is likely to be significantly higher because the data accounts only for people with British bank accounts. Spending by foreign tourists, which has disappeared completely since lockdown, is not included. Normally about two thirds of visitors to Oxford come from overseas.

The report goes on to say that the lockdown is costing Oxfordshire tourist businesses an estimated £137 million a month, a figure that will rise over the summer months, according to the tourist body Visit Oxford.

Phil Southall, president of Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said that he was most concerned about how long it would take for visitor numbers to recover. “Tourism is the worry and the great unknown,” he said. “The visitor economy provides 40,000 jobs here. The population of Oxford city is only 160,000 and the county is about 690,000 so that is a large number of jobs at stake.

“Tourism may take years to recover. When will visitors have the confidence to return? If we are not going to see a vaccine for another 12 months then they won’t come back before because they will be worrying about travelling on aeroplanes. If this season is lost that money is never going to come back.”


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