Snags with supermarket plans to have special times for shopping for elderly customers have been pointed about by welovestornoway.com readers.

One said: " I just read your article that Tesco are going to have a dedicated shopping hour for elderly customers between 8am and 9am.

"How is this going to work if CalMac have cancelled the overnight freight ferry?

"Tesco will surely sell out by the evening and won't be able to re-stock until noon the following day."

Another wrote: "I was pleased to read that the Co-op and Tesco are putting into place dedicated times for the elderly and vulnerable people to shop. 

"However, what about younger people who are shopping for elderly people and live in a rural area?  We can't go back every hour to check if items are re-stocked. 

"I have a 52-mile round trip to Stornoway and have to shop for my elderly mother who has a broken hip.  She cannot go shopping and to be honest, I wouldn't want her to in this current climate but, there needs to be some sort of balance found because I don't think the panic buyers are going to stop anytime soon."

A series of local businesses have reacted to the crisis by closing or changing their organisation and links with customers.

Chris Graham said: "Men Only (Church Street), The Barbers (Kenneth Street) and Back & Sides (Bayhead Street) have collectively decided in the interests of our customers and staff safety to close until it is considered safe to re-open for business as normal. Due to the close contact nature of the business we feel that this is the only safe course of action we can take at this time in view of current social distancing advice.
"We are sure our valued customers will understand this difficult decision and we look forward to seeing them all again in the very near future.

Lewis Crofters will be introducing a pay by phone and collect service (01851 702350) from next week and "preventing access to the shop building and store to all customers. We are asking all customers to phone in their orders for payment by card or account (where customers have credit accounts). Customers will be given a collection reference and collection time when they place their order. The collection point will be at the rear of Lewis Crofters Shop and is accessed from Rigs Road. Your collection reference should be verbally given to our staff as you enter the collection point. Customers will not be able to pay by cash or cheque in this period as contact with staff must be kept to an absolute minimum.

"Customers must not get out of their vehicles but allow our staff to load the ordered goods into your vehicle, preventing any possibility of contact. Customers that enter the yard without a collection reference will be asked to go back out to place their order by phone and await a collection time. This is in order to manage traffic within the yard and order volumes.

"In order to action this change, we will require our full staff quota to be available at our premises. For that reason, we will be now open over this period Monday – Friday from 10am – 5:30pm. This will allow us to re-stock the shop and store before trading begins each day. Customer orders phoned in after 5pm may not receive their goods until the following day. In addition to this we will be unable to take any orders for deliveries while we concentrate on making the process as efficient as possible.

"We acknowledge that this is a big change for customers and for it to work effectively we are asking customers to:

  1. Be patient with orders and staff. This is a very labour-intensive system and will require understanding from customers. Verbal abuse to our staff will not be tolerated and orders may be refused if this is the case.
  2. Buy within normal buying patterns. Buying extra means that others might not get their regular supplies. If necessary, staff may restrict volumes to ensure that there is enough to go around.

This change will take effect from 10am on Monday 23rd March.

The Hebridean Tea Store in Cromwell Street say: "With regards to your and our safety we have made some changes until further notice."

Opening times will be Monday, Tuesday 12-3pm /Wednesday Closed/ Thursday,Friday 12-3 pm; Saturday 10-3 pm /Sunday Closed

When possible you can order via our website and choose local pickup. Or order and pay over the phone. Pickup Days will be Friday and Saturday If this is not suitable, then please get in touch4. Pay Contactless or by Card if possible.  Please go to our website www.hebrideanteastore.scot during the checkout you can choose "local pickup"which is of course free of charge. If you can't come to the shop in person, we will post your items as long as the Royal Mail is working. Or please use our freephone number 0800 228 9294

Terri McGeoghegan of Hebrides Harmony and 1:1 Diet posted last night:

"I can’t quite believe I’m writing this! I am closing the salon until further notice, but will definitely re open as soon as it is deemed safe (going to miss seeing my clients so much!)

"The government has today advised for salons, spas and massage parlours to close, along with cafes, bars and restaurants, to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

"I will be continuing to work with my 1:1 diet clients via video link & product collection (I will contact you all individually.)

I am petrified for what is in store for us in the coming weeks, not only for those vulnerable in my own family, but for our wider community in Lewis and Harris. We have a small hospital with only a few ICU beds and an ageing population.

"Please please listen to the advice and do your bit 

"Sending everyone so much love and strength in the coming weeks."

 The Hair and Beauty Lounge posted:

"I can not believe I'm doing this (and doing so with an extremely heavy heart). We have been so unsure what to do with THBL all week, no set guidelines for salons and we don't want to let any of you down. Our plan was to keep working until we were told to shut but it's reached the point now where we need to follow suit and do what's best for everyone. We are closing our doors for the time being and hopefully this will all be over soon with everyone doing the same thing.

"Our appointment book is full for the next few weeks but we will get in touch with you all personally as soon as we can and reschedule all appointments once we know what is happening.

"We are all so emotional today but we know this is the right decision.

"Sending you all loads of love, stay safe. We miss you all so much already!"

 MnM Hair Design also closed their doors for the moment, saying: 

 "I can not believe I am posting this but M'n'M Hair Design has closed it door for now.
"Until it is deemed safe again to do so.
"We will be in touch with clients in due course.
"I feel broken doing this.
"Us as a team feel this is the only way to stay safe.
"We will see you all soon, take care, God bless.
"The M'n'M Hair Design Team,
"Maureen, Angela, Angie, Alannah, Eilidh."