Weston opticians helping patients and staff to feel safe and welcome during pandemic

Claire Morgan, Sian Wilmot and Alison Harwood from the practice.

Claire Morgan, Sian Wilmot and Alison Harwood from the practice. - Credit: Archant

An independent opticians in Weston has introduced an online store to enable people to purchase glasses and sunglasses during lockdown.

Optika, in High Street, is run by husband and wife, Alison and James Harwood, and their main priority during the pandemic has been making sure patients and staff feel as safe and welcome as possible.

Alison said: “All staff are wearing full personal protective equipment, we check everyone’s temperature when they enter the practice and visits are by appointment only.

“We are also constantly cleaning and sanitising, including the testing room after each eye test, and the frames after a patient has tried them on.

“We also introduced an online store on our practice website at the start of lockdown which is still available to customers, where they can purchase glasses and sunglasses and have them delivered to their door, if they’re shielding for example.

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“Our key priority has been ensuring the safety of both our patients and our staff, as well as balancing that with creating a warm and welcoming environment, where everyone feels comfortable.

“We think we’ve been able to achieve that and our patients seem to have really appreciated the lengths we have gone to.”

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The opticians worked throughout the lockdown in March to support the community by conducting emergency eye appointments, delivering glasses to the door of vulnerable patients who were self-isolating and updating their website to allow customers to purchase glasses and sunglasses online.

Staff were able to offer routine appointments again in July, with safety measures in place.

Alison said: “Footfall has, of course, been reduced but that reflects almost every High Street across the country.

“However, we are still really busy as our appointments are longer than usual and more dedicated to each patient.

“I think the relationship with our patients has become even stronger; for those we have helped since lockdown started, I think they have been even more appreciative and really acknowledged the importance of eye care in their lives.

Optika is supporting the Weston Mercury’s Shop Local campaign to encourage people to support their local independent businesses.

Alison said: “Support independent businesses. We really believe they are the lifeblood of any high street and if we all try to shop local a bit more regularly it can make all the difference.

She added: “Hopefully people will have seen the value of the high street over this period and how important it is to the prosperity of every town.”

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