Businesses and organisations in Pendle left counting the cost of coronavirus outbreak

It's a huge problem no one could have possible seen coming - a global pandemic causing businesses to lay off staff, close or reduce hours and organisations to cancel events.

But as COVID-19 spreads across the country and people continue to self-isolate, events in Pendle are being postponed and cancelled and retailers reducing store hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Britons to avoid non-essential contact. Among the businesses taking immediate action is the popular Boundary Outlet. A statement on their Facebook page reads as follows: "Due to the current situation the country finds itself in, Boundary stores have decided to review their current opening hours from Monday, March 16th. We will open daily from 10am to 5pm until further notice."

Another casualty of the virus is the Pendle Hippodrome Theatre Company who have had to postpone their production of "Chicago". A spokesman said: "It is with great sadness that we have to announce Chicago has been postponed following the recent government advice. All tickets will be refunded, although this may take us some time to work through, rest assured we will work through refunds as soon as possible."

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However, it's business as usual at Pendle Leisure Trust, but with extra hygiene measures. A spokesman said: "As the situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, we want to reassure you that Pendle Leisure Trust is taking all necessary steps to ensure we protect our customers and staff against the risk of coronavirus. In light of health concerns, and following the guidance of Public Health England, we have increased the availability of hand sanitiser and the frequency and ongoing sanitation of all areas, in particular: gym equipment, changing facilities, public toilets, door handles and surfaces, to encourage all visitors to continue to use our facilities. All services are operating as normal and we are constantly monitoring the situation and will continue to take direction from Public Health officials taking whatever actions are necessary in order to protect our customers, our employees and the general public."

Boundary Outlet have had to change their opening hours. Picture by Jon Super

Meanwhile, shoppers in Pendle are being asked to be "considerate" and stop stockpiling. Supermarkets are urging shoppers not to buy more than they need amid concern over coronavirus-linked stockpiling. In a joint letter, UK retailers have reminded customers to be considerate in their shopping, so that others are not left without much-needed items. "There is enough for everyone if we all work together," it adds. It comes after some shops began rationing the sales of certain products to avoid them selling out completely. In the letter, the retailers say online and click-and-collect services are at "full capacity" and staff and suppliers are "working day and night to keep the nation fed". The retailers say they are working "closely" with government and suppliers to make more deliveries to stores so that shelves are well-stocked.

There have been similar panic buying scenes at stores in Pendle Rise, Nelson. Speaking to the Nelson Leader, a spokesman said: "We have seen more customers than usual come to shop at Pendle Rise. Traders are reporting a significant increase in sales - in fact, what they usually sell in five days is being sold in a day! We will continue to remain open and operate as normal with the appropriate hygiene safety measures in place as per advice from the Government, NHS and Public Health England. We will continue to monitor the situation and take any appropriate steps as and when necessary."