What You Need To Know About Visiting London: Corona Virus Edition

You probably know everything you need to know about Coronavirus by now, but what about travelling to London at the moment? I’ve put together an overview of the current situation and it might affect your plans.

Can I still travel to London?
You can at the time of writing (16/03), with no limitations for travel in London and the UK, and no requirement quarantine on arrival. Yes, most London attractions, museums and restaurants are open and public transport is functioning as normal. But do you really want to get on board train or plane right now? If you’ve already booked, check if you can get a voucher to rebook for a later time.

UPDATE 17/03: While you still might be able to physically travel to London, the official advice from Visit London is ”The UK is still open to visitors. However, the UK government has advised all visitors to consider if your travel is essential. ”. Since the government suggested people avoid crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres, many of the capital’s major attractions have since closed or announced their future plans to.

What can’t I do in London?
• Use your reusable cup at Starbucks – you will still receive a 25p discount for bringing reusable cups with you, but your drinks will be served in disposable cups.
• Catch a Premier League football match (cancelled until at least April)
• See Daniel Radcliffe in EndGame (no it’s not the Avengers!) as the Old Vic is the first major London theatre that has cancelled performances; other theatres to cancel include the Young Vic and the Arcola. (UPDATE 16/03: all major London theatres are closed until further notice)
• Visit the South London Gallery or the Wellcome Collection – both are closed until further notice. All London museums have now closed or are planning to close in the coming days.
•The same goes for most of the cinema chains including Odeon, Vue, and Picturehouse.

How does London look like?
A lot of companies allow working from home so the streets in Central London are emptier than normal. To give you an idea, this is Soho this afternoon.

While stores like Apple, Urban Outfitters and Nike are closed for the moment, the LEGO Store and M&M’s Store on Leicester Square are open as usual.

Will food markets stay open? This is a rather empty offering from today in Rupert Street in Soho.

In terms of restaurants, most places are open as normal, though a lot emptier, such as Bill’s, which is usually packed but a lot quieter today.

It looks like while restaurants, at least at lunchtime, are less busy, delivery drivers are taking up the slack.

A brave buddy.

How to protect yourself while in London

In case you’re ‘stuck’ in London here are a few ‘tongue in cheek’ tips on how to protect yourself presented by my good friend and Germophobe Adam

    • Being a bit OCD about germs was never my thing, but given the current news I had to get in touch with long-running blog friend Adam to ask him his top tips for surviving in London while being a bit OCD about touching things. He’s a bit over the top, so take his suggestions with a pinch of salt (or hand sanitiser!)
    • London might be the most wonderfully amazing city on earth (next to LA ofc), but the metropolis can be scary when you’re a bit of a germophobe, so here’s how to take it in your stride and avoid unnecessary touching in the capital.
    • Paying for items or transport? Be a ninja – keep that debit/credit card, Oyster or phone from touching the reader and keep it about half an inch or so above to avoid having to wash your cards. My personal advice is to stick to paying by phone (Apple/Google pay) to skip having to type your PIN in occasionally for security reasons.

  • Opening doors? Treat it like yoga – use your elbows or feet/knees to open doors (what else are you using elbows for right?!), but if it’s a pull door, slide your wrist behind the handle/bar to pull it towards you. If you’re in a toilet, use a tissue to open or close the doors for maximum relief.
  • Travelling on buses or the tube? It’s all about balance baby – find a corner or window/door to lean against to avoid holding the poles, or if you have to, wear gloves or ensure you have sanitiser ready to use when you escape. If you’re a that rare species of tube surfer even
    better, use that surfer’s balance to stand without holding on to anything (sadly I’m not able to manage this feat). Obviously finding a spot to lean is tough in rush hour, so try and stick to non-peak hours if you can!
  • Self serve tills? Make a fist – these tills might seem like heaven as you’re avoiding extra human contact, but touch screens are a big no no. In this case use your knuckles or gloves and like I said earlier – keep that card safe from touching the reader directly.
  • Heading out to eat? Be a monk – make sure you wash your hands or use sanitiser before devouring meals, and don’t let any concerns ruin a tasty treat.

How’s the situation in your current location?

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