Christmas shoppers have been warned to carry on following coronavirus guidance this weekend, as £1.7billion is expected to be spent in Britain’s shops today.
Fears are rising that London could be headed into tier three, as coronavirus cases continue to soar in the capital.
Cases have risen in 28 of the city’s 32 boroughs, taking its total to 21,672 – a 33% leap from the last seven-day period.
A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said people should ‘absolutely’ be cautious when shopping this weekend, added: ‘We would urge the public to follow the guidelines in relation to their activity to ensure that we are able to continue to drive down the transmission rate and protect communities.
‘I wouldn’t get into the discussions around telling people how to shop but I would just reiterate what we would say around ensuring that people follow the guidelines that are in place.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hinted on Friday that Londonders could be heading for the strictest level of restrictions when he warned its nine million residents not to ‘push the boundaries’.
About 11million Brits are set to collectively spend £3million a minute over today’s nine hours of trading.
Director of the Centre for Retail Research Professor Joshua Bamfield told the Sun: ‘Saturday will be a big day. Spending is happening earlier this year.
‘Some who combine shopping with meals out know they might not be able to do that next weekend.
‘More customers will be in shops as most purchases will now be through stores, as shoppers are aware of delivery issues online.
‘More people are spending now as they are concerned in-demand goods may run out closer to Christmas.’
If London goes into tier three pubs, bars and restaurants will be forced to close again which would have a ‘devastating effect’.
Hospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘The impact of the restrictions on the hospitality sector has been so severe that it has effectively halved the country’s economic growth. Ours is the only sector seeing real negative growth.
‘The restrictions being placed on us are having a devastating effect and go well beyond anything being experienced in other sectors.’
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