Although the government has ordered all shops selling non-essential items to close, some independent businesses in Bicester are soldiering on.

Businesses have changed the way they operate, with many now open as takeaway or delivery services instead.

Alyson Clifton, who has run Bicester Bean Coffee Shop and Cafe for just over 18 months, is still working.

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She sells home-made meals, sandwiches, cakes and her latest invention which has proved popular - Easter egg cheesecake.

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Despite business being down, she is enjoying helping her local community at this time by delivering food to people’s homes.

She said: “I’m only open for contactless deliveries as I don’t want to put anyone at risk. We deliver and leave on the doorstep. It’s my little way of helping put a smile on people's chops.

“My all-day breakfasts and Easter egg cheesecakes are both massive hits. Like every small business it’s tough times but I’ve got my positive pants on.”

Ms Clifton is also offering discount for all key workers.

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If you would like to contact her, call 07891 777219, and for more information on what is on offer, go to the Bicester Bean Coffee Shop and Cafe Facebook page or

Another local business that remains open is a butchers on Bucknell Road.

Peter Goss Butchers, run by 49-year-old Dale Grant, is delivering meat to customers' homes in Bicester and the surrounding villages.

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It did deliveries before, but following the announcement it has ramped up its service.

Mr Grant said: “It’s not too bad - it’s going okay. We’re trying to keep up with demand.”

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He has had to get his two children to drive the delivery vans as the rest of the team focus on preparing meat back at the shop.

Mr Grant, who started working at the butchers when he was 14 years old, is happy to still be open, especially as he helps the elderly who are self-isolating.

He added: “It’s a very strange feeling at the moment. You look outside and it’s a beautiful day and you think there’s nothing going on in the world, then reality kicks in and you realise how awful the situation is.

“I just think if you’re able to deliver to someone while keeping safe, then we will manage to do that.

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“You are helping everybody out which is what everyone should be doing. It’s all about looking after our elders.”

The butchers had to close its website at the weekend because it was so busy and Mr Grant asked people on Facebook to make orders by calling instead. For more information, call 01869 243109.

Another business that is still open amid these uncertain times is Bright Laundrettes on Kingsley Road.

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The facility is run by Daniel Bright and his cousin Warren Bright.

They are offering service washing between 7.30am and midday where only one person at a time can drop off washing.

It is then open from 12pm-7pm for self-service only. No staff will be present and customers are to maintain a safe distance from each other and to wait outside for machines to finish.

If you require a service wash and are elderly or vulnerable and wish not to attend the shop, collection/drop-off can be arranged. Call 07590 691507.

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