As the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II brings the country—and the far reaches of its former empire—to a halt, the United Kingdom will all but shut down Monday. Closures and cancellations will affect everything from grocery stores and banks to chemotherapy and surgery appointments, and even other people’s funerals.
Following the announcement by King Charles III that the country would observe a bank holiday on Monday in honour of the Queen’s funeral, the government issued a statement stating that it “would encourage” employers to give employees the day off and that all schools would be closed.
The shutter option was left up to the businesses, and many major supermarket chains, including Asda, Lidl, Morrison Waitrose, and Aldi, indicated they will be closed on Monday. Sainsbury’s and Tesco would close their larger stores but leave their smaller ones open.
According to The Guardian, several British companies, including the resort operator Center Parcs, came under fire for announcing closures and informing customers they would need to spend the night somewhere else.
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Next Monday will see several firms, including Primark, M&S, John Lewis, and Argos, shuttered, according to Sky News.
According to Open Democracy, despite long waiting lists, thousands of non-urgent hospital appointments and doctor visits, including hip and knee replacements, maternity checks, and some cancer treatments, scheduled for Monday in the Aneurin Bevan health system and NHS hospitals, have been cancelled or delayed.
Numerous media outlets reported that funerals scheduled for Monday have also been cancelled in honour of the Queen’s burial. The decision was criticised on social media as “inequality” and a “step too far,” and it may conflict with Islamic and Jewish customs that demand that services be held as soon as possible after a death.
Government officials also designated September 19 a one-time national holiday in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, closing government offices and announcing state ceremonies honouring the monarch.
The longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday at the age of 96 at her Balmoral Castle home in Scotland. Her death shocked the globe, and even though she had pulled back from public life in the latter part of last year and had just experienced a succession of medical setbacks, the English Premier League postponed its weekend games as a result of her passing. Her corpse laid in repose at Holyroodhouse, the Royal Family’s official Scottish residence, over the weekend before service at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. Plans for her funeral had been in the works for years, with the code name “Operation London Bridge.” The British Royal Air Force will then fly her coffin to London. She will be buried alongside her late husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, at St. George’s Chapel outside Windsor Castle after her funeral on Monday. Prince Philip passed away last year.
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