THESE images show Solihull town centre as a new reality dawned today.
Poplar Road, Touchwood and Solihull High Street saw vastly reduced visitors except for those travelling to work.
Local Harry Gregory said: “Just been to Solihull for work, the town is dead. It’s incredibly eerie and sobering. Borderline scene out of Dawn of the Dead.”
The coronavirus pandemic has taken hold of the British economy, with businesses warning they will run out of cash imminently.
Job losses, business closures and a long period of recession are nigh on certain.
Despite assurances over supplies and please by leaders such as Solihull Council leader Ian Courts, and West Midlands mayor Andy Street, some shelves in supermarkets were bare due to panic buying.
Grocers have repeatedly said they have enough food supplies.
The Core theatre and other arts venues have closed to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
Though pubs and cafes have not been forced to close by the government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people should not congregate in public places.
Tina McKenzie, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said failure to act would be ‘unforgivable’: “This is a confusing time for business, with different approaches taken in the UK and Republic of Ireland, and many businesses weighing up the evidence and taking unilateral steps.
“At this present time the onus is on the business owner to decide how to best to minimise risk and, while some have introduced working-from-home, this is not suitable for every type of business and approaches will undoubtedly differ. In recent days many members have expressed concern about the impact the fallout of COVID-19 will have on the sustainability of their businesses, as behaviours change in light of the unfolding situation.
“In order to ensure the economic impact of the coronavirus is kept to a minimum and does not do lasting, irreparable damage there is a need to support businesses through this temporary period to ensure that they can continue to sustain and create jobs throughout and beyond this emergency.
All non essential surgery has been stopped by NHS England, and Solihull hospital is limiting visitors to wards.
Head of the NHS Sir Simon Stevens said: “You will need to postpone all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April at the latest, for a period of at least three months. However you also have full local discretion to wind down elective activity over the next 30 days as you see best, so as to free up staff for refresher training, beds for Covid-19 patients, and theatres/recovery facilities for adaptation work.”