Kilburn High Road traders see a slow return to business on April 12

Man working in VMG in Kilburn High Road

Tanesh from VMG in Kilburn High Road. - Credit: Ellie Cook

It was a slow and steady return to business for traders in Kilburn High Road today.

April 12 saw non-essential retail and outside hospitality open for the first time in months, under the government's coronavirus lockdown easing roadmap.

“It’s really quiet, I thought it was going to be busy, but it’s not,” said Tanesh, working in electronics and general goods shop VMG at the top of Kilburn High Road.

“Let’s hope for the best in the next few days.” 

Sebastian, a barista at Maison Vie coffee shop in the more bustling middle section of Kilburn High Road, added: “The morning wasn’t busy, because the weather is quite cold, and it’s a Monday.” 

Interior of Maison Vie cafe in Kilburn High Road

Inside shot of Maison Vie cafe in Kilburn High Road. - Credit: Ellie Cook

Just opposite Maison Vie is the newly reopened Cancer Research shop, which employee Eleanor has been manning for the morning whilst people queued up to browse. “There will always be people who want charity shops,” she remarked. “They’re a little bit of an emporium."

“It’s been steady, we’ve been monitoring that, in all, ten of us should be in the shop and it’s been working out great.”  

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Abdul, who runs Luxury Affordable Furniture at the bottom of Kilburn High Road, welcomed customers back in person this morning, after months of taking phone orders and delivering products directly to buyers. 

“We are very happy after such a long time, and everyone has had financial difficulties in small businesses.” 

Hairdressers, barbers, nail bars, and other personal care services were also allowed to see clients from this morning.

Salons up and down the length of Kilburn High Road had every chair and waiting area filled, with professionals barely able to take a breath between clients.

“It’s busy, but it’s better than being at home,” said one barber as he focused on a client’s hair.  

With government coronavirus restrictions on outdoor-only hospitality, a number of pubs and bars on Kilburn High Road did not start pouring pints or taking lunch orders today. 

In neighbouring Kensal Rise, however, staff at several pubs spent significant time preparing to reopen today.

Seraphina Myers owns The Rise pub, and has added extra outdoor seating to maximise the space available for pub-goers.

Pubs reopen

And the Parlour in Kensal Green, run by Jesse Dunford Wood, had staff working into the early hours “painting and fixing things and setting things up" ready to welcome customers.