BORIS Johnson has announced that shops will follow pubs, restaurants and cinemas in being closed down in a bid to stem the outbreak of coronavirus.

Bus some residents were left confused after a number of stores around Basingstoke remained open, the day after the prime minister's "stay at home" speech. 

Under government restrictions, homeware and hardware stores are allowed to remain open. 

But this news caused confusion with members of the public in contrast with the government's "stay at home" message. 

Home Bargains

Home Bargains is remaining open to the public and will be open again today from 8am to 5pm.

The customer assistant said: "We are open because we're considered to be key workers. We sell toiletries, food and other essential products.

"There was hardly anyone here with four staff members and a few customers.

"We're getting masks and hand gel for staff. We're not looking into reducing hours but it will be reviewed.

"We haven't been told whether we're opening tomorrow."


Homebase is open from 9am to 6pm.

One resident said at around 11.30am yesterday, people were seen coming out with fertiliser and other non-essential items.

They said: "It was absolutely jamming with people. You don't need potted plants or screws."

The current government guidelines says residents must only go out shopping for essentials. 

The Gazette contacted Homebase for comment but they are yet to respond.


B&Q was open to the public yesterday.

A B&Q spokesperson said: "Today, Wednesday March 25, our stores will remain closed while we will continue to work out the safest and simplest way to support customers in providing only those essential products that keep houses warm, safe and with power. We’re also looking at the steps we need to take to ensure we keep our colleagues in store safe.

"Customers with outstanding Click+Collect orders can go to the store to pick up their items from 10am today.

"Thank you for your understanding and support in advance. More information will follow."


Screwfix will be open at normal hours this week. 

One onlooker said: "I saw that Screwfix was open and people were walking outside with non-essential household items."

The Gazette has contacted Screwfix for comment.


Halford's website says that all of their stores are temporarily closed but their online home delivery is still in operation.

Halford's telephone line also says they are closed.

However, a resident reported that they saw Basingstoke's Halfords was open yesterday at 11.15am.

The Gazette has contacted Halfords for comment.

Halfords MOT

Halfords MOT is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 5pm.

This is deemed as an essential service. 

But an onlooker said it left them confused. They said: "I saw cars outside and guys working on mechanics at 11am.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Halfords said: "There are no customers in reception. We have hand sanitiser at reception.

"A customer walks in, we get their name and contact number and off they go.

"We will be running as long as we can as we're seen as essential workers.

"Garages need to stay open to keep cars running and on the road."

Barbers on Sarum Hill

One resident saw four people in the Babers on Sarum Hill, Winchester road at 11.30am.

Two were in the chair and two were barbers.

The Gazette has contacted the Barbers for comment.

Car wash inside shell 

A resident spotted that there were men on hand ready to wash people's cars.

"The shell petrol station next to Vauxhall garage near Lidl off the B3400 was open.

"Four guys were sitting there ready to wash cars," the resident said.

The Gazette has contacted the car wash for comment.

National Tyres

A resident reported that all cars were inside and garage doors were open at 10.45am.

This service is deemed essential under the government's guidelines. 

The current opening hours are from 8.30am to 6pm.

The Gazette has contacted National Tyres for comment.