These are the most surprising businesses considered 'essential' across the globe

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 2:04 pm

The closure of non-essential businesses around the world has revealed some interesting cultural quirks when it comes to what some countries consider "essential".

While we might not think outlets selling only french fries or tobacco to be essential in the UK, certain countries around the world consider these businesses vital to the well-being of their population, and have kept them open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

These are some of the most surprising (and perhaps not-so surprising) businesses deemed "essential" around the globe.

Marijuana dispensaries (Holland, some US states)

When the Dutch government originally ordered the country's famous cannabis coffee shops to close, there were queues around street corners as residents rushed to stock up.

However, the government's original order was reversed, owing to fears that it would encourage dealers to start illegally selling the drug.

Some American states - such as California - have also deemed marijuana dispenseries "essential" businesses.

Gun stores (some US states) 

On 28 March, the Trump administration designated gun stores as "essential" on the federally recommended list of essential businesses.

Some states have kept gun stores closed. Others, like Los Angeles, have kept them operating throughout the pandemic.

Bakeries (France) 

While the UK's favourite pastry shop, Greggs, has sadly been forced to close, the French are still able to get their morning baguette fix from their local boulangerie.

Wine and cheese shops (France)

In perhaps the most characteristically French move possible, wine and cheese shops have also been designated as "essential" in France, with residents still able to indulge in brie and merlot to their hearts' delight.

French fry stands (Belgium)

There's an ongoing cultural war between the Belgians and the French regarding the true origin of the French fry, or humble chip, as we call it in the UK.

And while the French might claim the name, it's Belgium who have deemed the cuisine so important that French fry sellers have been deemed "essential" businesses, alongside pharmacies and supermarkets, in the country.

Tobacco stands (Italy)

News stands remain open in Italy, yet are restricted to only selling certain items. While they are allowed to sell tobacco, they're not allowed to sell lottery tickets.

Around one in six Italian people smoke, according to the Tobacco Atlas.

Golf courses (Arizona)

Controversially, golf courses remain open in the American state of Arizona. The state is estimated to have over 300 golf courses.

Salons (Japan)

Even more controversially, The Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike announced on 10 April that salons and barber shops were "essential" businesses that should remain open.

Many hair stylists took to the internet to complain about the move, saying they feared their safety at work.