Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Shopping in the Pandemic


Hand washing facilities.
Hand washing facilities on a farm (photo taken during Covid-19 lockdown).  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

People are trying to shop as little as possible and somewhere that won't be too crowded. They also want to support local businesses, so one of the few businesses that I suspect may come out of all this as a winner is Sylvain Bardon's Jardins Vergers de la Petite Rabaudière, the organic market garden on the edge of town.

Customers keeping their distance, and the occasional face mask.
Farm shop during Covid-19 lockdown.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The farm shop is open on Monday evenings between five and seven o'clock. When I arrived at five o'clock I was fifth in line. Only one person in the shop at once. Hand washing facilities and sanitizer  were available. Dotty at the till was dressed like she was in the Arctic, and indeed there was a very gusty cold north wind blowing. While I was there twenty more customers turned up. That's about twice as many as are normally there at any one time. Parking spaces ran out and cars were parked all over the place, and people lined up down to the driveway, keeping their required two metres apart. 

 Dotty dressed for defence (in a homemade mask).
Cashier at a farm shop during Covid-19 lockdown.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The atmosphere was very weird though. Normally this is a relaxed place to shop, with people chatting all over. Nowadays though, no one talks. Dotty couldn't stand it after about ten minutes and put some reggae on the sound system. That helped a bit, but it was still weird.

 Waiting to pay.
Waiting to pay at a farm shop during the Covid-19 lockdown.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Nevertheless, I think people who wouldn't normally think to come to the farm shop will do so because it's close and they can be sure of a selection of locally grown good quality vegetables for an affordable price. With any luck we'll be doing this for long enough to establish a habit, and Sylvain's business will have received a welcome boost.

Under the rules of the lockdown Sylvain is allowed to keep the farm shop open as it is food, and he and his staff are allowed to continue working because he's a farmer. Us customers have to have a document that states we are out shopping for necessities. The shop has to be set up in such a way as to protect the staff and the customers as far as practical from catching Covid-19, should the virus be present -- which so far it isn't in Preuilly.


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2 comments:

Unknown said...

I hope that we will all learn that our eyes can smile even with a mask on, and that our voices can carry friendly greetings for two metres too.
Best wishes, Jocelyn

Susan said...

I hope so too.

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