Published: 12:25, 20 March 2020
| Updated: 12:27, 20 March 2020
Food and drink businesses are rallying round during the coronavirus outbreak to offer deliveries and freebies for those on the frontline.
As more people are forced to self-isolate and supplies in supermarkets are depleted, local Kent firms are stepping in to help people affected by the virus get essential supplies delivered to their door.
Others are showing their solidarity with NHS staff who are battling to save lives and slow the spread of the outbreak, offering free hot drinks and even pizza to those working in the health service.
GB Pizza Co in Margate is among those firms who have offered a show of support to the county's "amazing" healthcare staff.
Owner Lisa Richards said: "We've always been huge supporters of the NHS. Our co-founder, Rachel, had a malignant brain tumour when we opened in 2012, and she received the most amazing support and care from the NHS.
"The NHS staff, from cleaning teams up, are working so hard. They’re on the frontline. I went to the supermarket on Tuesday, after a week up in the north where we have a franchise restaurant and where we’re hoping to open another restaurant once all this madness dies down. The shelves were empty. And it made me think about nurses and doctors, potentially exposing themselves to this awful disease, and leaving work feeling battered, scared and exhausted, and not being able to even buy themselves supplies.
"So, while we’re still open, all NHS staff, with proof of ID, can get a free takeaway Margate-rita pizza or a hot drink on us. Because we think they’re amazing."
Unit 1, bar and food venue in West Hythe, is also supporting NHS and school staff by offering free coffee. While Kiko Sushi & Yakitori, a Japanese restaurant in Tunbridge Wells is offering NHS workers a 20 per cent discount.
Mughal Dynasty, an Indian restaurant and takeaway in Maidstone, is offering NHS workers a half-price discount on takeaway and collection orders.
Kenza Bowman, a co-owner of Unit 1 who also works for the health service, said: "I saw offers from bigger companies and I thought that we should do something too. Schools are having to stay open too, so we have extended it to them."
For those forced to stay at home and self-isolate, Modern Provider, a sourdough bakery in Margate, is offering to deliver essentials such as bread, eggs and milk - and allow people to pay whatever they can afford.
In a post on Instagram, they said: "As of next week we are closing the bakery shop to move to a door-to-door delivery service. If you are self-isolating, or have friends, parents, relatives that are, then this service is designed to help you.
"These are troubled times for all of us and finances are a major concern for everyone. In light of that we are making this service pay what you can.
"The items will be delivered contact-free to your door, and a link will be sent over to allow you to pay as much as you can at this time."
JavaHub, coffee roasters based in Rochester, are starting up a range of initiatives designed to make life easier while people adjust to the restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.
They are offering free coffee for NHS workers and the emergency services, half price coffee for the over-65s, and a "check on a loved one" service where you can request a driver to pop by someone who may be self-isolating at home.
Across the county many other businesses and individuals are offering little rays of light in these troubled times, with hairdressers offering free cuts to NHS staff, chefs giving online cooking tutorials and artists giving away free colouring patterns for kids now unable to go to school.
More by this authorRhys Griffiths
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