• The Bridge Burford

Coronavirus Diary Part 2

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.”

A community magazine for Burford in Oxfordshire

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