Keeping your distance: Hampstead joggers and creperie crowds

Rival creperies in Hampstead Village. Picture: Hampstead Village Voice

Creperies outside King William IV pub in Hampstead Village - Credit: Hampstead Village Voice

As Covid related issues continue to dominate the headlines, there is a thorny issue brewing in our leafy village - concerns about the bunching of people in some of the narrower parts of our village, the failure to wear masks in queues outdoors and the failure of some joggers to give a wide berth to those they pass.

These concerns were triggered by the recent busy weekend for the two creperies outside King William IV pub. Queues stretched along Perrins Lane for the old Creperie of Hampstead and along the high street for the new creperie owned by the King William. 

Some passers-by felt that distances between those queuing looked less than 3ft – the government guidance at one point for distances between non-family members. Some thought the rule was a 2m distance. 

But, when I checked, the regulations (The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020), it appears that they do not mandate any particular distance between non-family members. 

The latest government guidance on social distancing states “Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble” – but this is not law, merely guidance which, in itself, is not enforceable by the authorities.

As for the wearing of face masks in queues outdoors, again, these are not mandated by the relevant regulations, which only mandate masks indoors. 

Nevertheless, I understand that the old Creperie of Hampstead is respectfully requesting its customers to wear masks in any queues and to respect a 2m distance from each other, employing a queue marshal to assist with this task.

READ MORE: Hampstead High street gets a second creperie amid war of words

While it is clear that the creperie businesses were not doing anything wrong by their customers not wearing masks in the queue or being 3ft or 2m apart, in any event, elderly residents concerned about the risk to them of catching Covid have asked that those queueing outdoors or where there is bunching of people, particularly in our narrow streets at weekends, leave at least a 2m gap for passers-by to get through. 

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Joggers are also requested to keep a distance from those who they pass where it is possible to do so. We will one day be out the other end of the current Covid anxieties – this too will pass. 

  • Jessica Learmond-Criqui campaigns on Hampstead issues.