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Caffeine calling: London phone boxes serve up coffee after lockdown

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Loreinis Mejia Hernandez from Colombia smiles at a converted telephone box she runs as a take-away coffee shop with her husband Sean Rafferty from Ireland as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown eases in Chiswick, West London, Britain, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

LONDON (Reuters) – Two of London’s famous red telephone boxes have been reborn as a coffee stall, and the owners say the lack of inside space that was a drawback when they opened a week before lockdown could now be an asset in a socially distanced capital.

Couple Loreinis Hernandez and Sean Rafferty said Amar Cafe, which is operated out of two adjacent disused phone boxes in west London, was trading for just a week before the city shut down at the end of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were so excited, you know, just starting this business, and then the lockdown came up,” Hernandez said. “We closed for six weeks.”

The easing of restrictions this week prompted them to reopen the cafe, which specialises in coffee from Hernandez’s native Colombia.

“We invested everything in these boxes before lockdown,” Rafferty said.

“It was always going be takeaways and maybe it might be better now for us because people would prefer to be outside, sitting in the park.”

While stocks are good for a few weeks, at least, Rafferty and Hernandez are hopeful that the lockdown restrictions in the South American country do not prevent future deliveries.

Reporting by Ben Makori, Writing by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison

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