Drivers queue at Costa Coffee as Brits crack under coronavirus lockdown strain with traffic and shopping up 10%

DRIVERS are this morning queuing outside Costa Coffee as Brits head out during the coronavirus lockdown.

Traffic on roads continues to rise with thousands of people keen to get out in the sunshine as new figures show shopping is up 10 per cent.

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A strict lockdown has been in place since March 23 but pictures from around the country show people leaving their homes to make the time more bearable.

Dozens were seen waiting in their cars outside a Costa drive-thru in Mansfield, Notts, this morning.

Meanwhile, figures from Google show people are heading out more to visit shops, parks and beaches.

Between February 16 and March 29, visits to retail and recreation locations, such as restaurants, shopping centres and galleries dropped by 85 per cent.


But by the end of last week, this was up by 10 percentage points to 75 per cent below their normal level, new stats show.

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock today said companies re-opening during the crisis were "never required to close".

Speaking this morning, he insisted they were still following the guidelines and could have continued trading through the pandemic.

He today welcomed companies such as B&Q, house builders Taylor Wimpey and car makers Jaguar and Nissan getting back to work.

Appearing on Sky News, he said: "The things that are restarting are things that we never required to close in the first place.

The things that are restarting are things that we never required to close in the first place

"But what the companies have been doing is working out how they can have safe working following the social distancing rules whilst people are at work.

"Throughout we've allowed hardware stores to stay open, and the construction industry, but what businesses have been doing is taking the last couple of weeks to work out 'OK, how do you stay open and stay within the social-distancing rules at work?'

"So it's absolutely fine for those businesses to stay open because they were never required to close by the social-distancing rules."

It comes after thousands of shoppers queued outside B&Q after the chain reopened 155 stores during the lockdown.

Hundreds were seen queuing outside a store in Basildon, Essex, this morning with people keen to carry out refurbishments while they stay at home.


Housebuilder Persimmon today announced it is to restart operations on its sites as construction firms return to work in the face of the pandemic.

The Yorkshire firm said it will begin a "phased re-opening" of its sites from Monday April 27 to help complete new homes under construction.

It comes a day after rivals Vistry Group and Taylor Wimpey announced their own plans to return to work.

This week, Hyde Park in London has been packed with young Brits exercising, while others were seen relaxing in the sunshine as the temperature hit 24C in the capital.

Others were seen buying plants and gardening tools from a B&Q in Leeds while pictures showed more cars on motorways this morning.

Meanwhile, one group of lads ignored social distancing rules to play football in London's Southwark Park.

The picture caused concern for one minister who said there is a "risk" people are starting to ignore the rules.

MP Brandon Lewis told of his fears people will be struggling to stick to the lockdown after so many weeks cooped up inside.

He said: "I think there is always a risk when you are doing something like this, particularly those living alone, will be finding it really difficult.

"We've got to look at the success we've had in flattening that curve. We've lost too many lives already.

"When you follow the guidelines, when you stay home, you are doing something directly personally that is not just helping the NHS, but saving lives."

B&Q had been closed since the end of March since the introduction of lockdown measures to try to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Customers had been able to use click and collect services to purchase goods after hardware stores were included on the government's list of essential retailers.

The store carried out a trial in 14 stores over the weekend and opened them fully – with restrictions. It has now opened a further 155 stores out of 297. The retailer plans to open the remaining UK stores by early May.

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