As the UK’s lockdown continues with no immediate end in sight, you’ll be slowly adapting to a new way of living.
If you’ve read the abundant online advice, you’ll be trying hard to keep to a daily routine, heading outside for your hour-a-day exercise, and adhering to social distancing rules in the supermarket aisles and pharmacies.
There have been other, unexpected consequences of the lockdown that you might not have thought of about too. Here are five of them.
- Sales of indoor sports equipment have rocketed
With their would-be customers stuck inside, many businesses have been forced to close, furloughing workers in a struggle to keep their companies afloat. Whilst the current crisis has been a disaster for many, others are experiencing a massive increase in sales.
Home-gym and indoor sports equipment such as pool tables, dart boards and exercise bikes are amongst the items reportedly selling out up and down the country.
Games supplier, Andy Beresford, told the BBC that he’d sold 124 table tennis tables in one week in March, compared to just 15 in the same week last year.
The UK’s largest supplier of specialist fitness equipment, Fitness Superstore, told The Guardian that the volume of orders had ‘driven all areas of our business to maximum capacity.’ They have placed a £200 minimum spend in a bid to ‘slow the rate of orders coming into its distribution centres’.
- You’ve been given a six-month extension on your MOT
UK motorists have been granted a six-month extension on their MOT, if it was originally due to expire on or after 30 March 2020.
With the UK lockdown rules prohibiting unnecessary travel, the government announced an emergency extension for MOTs but added that vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition.
Under the new rules, an MOT originally expiring on 3 April 2020 will now not expire until 3 October 2020. You can check whether your MOT is due or if it has been extended here.
- The Grand National goes ‘virtual’
The Grand National was first run in 1839 and, during its 181-year history, it has rarely been affected by outside influences.
World War Two saw it cancelled – from 1941 to 1945 Aintree was commandeered for defence use – and a series of incidents in 1993 led to the race being declared void when seven riders crossed the finish line despite a false start having been called.
In 2019 a ‘virtual Grand National’ was run as a precursor to the main event and this year – in light of the coronavirus pandemic – the ‘virtual’ race became the main event.
A peak audience of 4.8 million saw the 18-1 chance Potters Corner ‘win’ the race that raised more than £2.6 million for NHS Charities Together.
- Water in Venice canals runs clear amid global emissions drop
The extent of the lockdown in China saw its emissions drop significantly and there have been similar positive impacts on ecology all over the world, including in Venice where the canals are running clear after a season of diminished tourist traffic.
Quick to quash reports that the water had become ‘cleaner’, a spokesperson from the Venice mayoral office told CNN: “The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom.”
Elsewhere, The Guardian reports that moles have been spotted venturing above ground in search of worms. Oystercatchers – who normally nest on unpopulated beaches away from tourists – are enjoying the deserted beaches of the UK, such as on Norfolk beach, situated within the Holkham national nature reserve.
And, Chinese emissions for February 2020 were down at least 25%, a reduction of 200 million tons of carbon dioxide compared with emissions levels in 2019, according to Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
- £200 million of fresh flowers to be destroyed
The Independent reports that £200 million worth of fresh flowers will have to be destroyed as the effect of coronavirus and lockdown sees demand drop.
After a poor Mothering Sunday – following government advice to stay home – poor sales have continued at a time when gardeners would normally be heading back out into the garden.
The Horticultural Trades Association is calling on the government to support the sector, which includes the supply of ornamental plants and bulbs for supermarkets and DIY stores. The move has been backed by TV personality Alan Titchmarsh who has spoken of the “irreparable damage” if the sector is not supported.
A BBC reporter spoke to horticulturist, Ben Cross, who was worried his flowers would have to be destroyed and instead set about donating them to NHS key workers. He teamed up with a supermarket to have the flowers delivered along with their food orders.
With many retailers going exclusively online during the current crisis, if you’re looking to get out into the garden this spring and support a struggling industry, search online and see if a local nursery, garden centre, or florist is offering delivery.