THE Argos store in Basildon town centre has become the latest business to close in south Essex because of the pandemic.

The shop, which has been part of the Westgate Shopping Centre for more than 20 years, is one of a number of shops forced to shut for good because of Covid-19.

With customers forced to do their shopping online during lockdown, retail bosses have been forced to take drastic action and cut store numbers in an effort to survive.

Here are the other businesses and shops forced to close in south Essex because of Covid-19:

Ask Italian in Rayleigh

The High Street restaurant was one of a number of sites cut by the Azzuri group in September last year.

In a statement, the firm said: “The Covid-19 crisis has hit the restaurant sector hard and we’ve had to make some incredibly difficult decisions.

“It is with deep sadness that we confirm ASK Italian Rayleigh is now closed.

“We’d like to thank our guests for their regular custom and let them know ASK Italian Billericay is now their closest restaurant.”

Rayleigh Town Councillor Chris Stanley described the closure as a “shock”.

Oban Road Fish Shop, Southend

In November, bosses at a legendary Southend chippy announced they would be shutting up shop for good.

Bosses say they had no choice after the impact of the virus on trade.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately due to the pandemic and subsequent impact on trade, we will be closing our doors for good. Our last day will be November 21.

"We would like to thank all our customers, friends and supporters we have made over the last five years."

Pizza Express in Billericay

Pizza Express announced in September that 73 restaurants would close nationwide.

One of these restaurants was the Billericay High Street site.

Bosses said the impact of the global pandemic meant they had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard Pizza Express for the long term.

Zoe Bowley, Pizza Express's managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: "Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has meant that we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard Pizza Express for the long term."


Earlier this year, it was announced that Debenhams would not reopen after the third lockdown ends.

It had stores in Basildon, Southend and at Lakeside Shopping Centre.

In an email sent to employees, retail directors said that the store on Magdalen Street will not reopen because 'the landlord has served notice on the store as they have alternative plans for the site'.

Pasta Pia

In October, bosses at an Italian pasta restaurant revealed they had been forced to shut their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pasta Pia, in Clifftown Road, Southend, was unable to stay afloat because of the economic pressure caused by Covid.

In a message to customers, bosses said: "We would like to thank you all for your support over the years, but due to the current economic situation, we sadly decided to close our Southend Branch permanently.

"Our Westcliff branch remains open for business , we look forward to see you there.”


The fashion retailer Monsoon announced in June that it would be closing 32 stores across the UK.

Bosses said the pandemic had made closures “unavoidable”.

Shops in Southend-on-Sea and Basildon were on the closure list.

Santander banks

Santander is closing three of its south Essex branches this summer as customers switch to banking online.

Branches in Leigh, Wickford and Grays are set to close as the bank announced 111 of its branches across the country would shut by the end of August this year.

The Spanish-owned lender said that most of the branches being axed were under three miles from another branch, with the furthest being five miles away.

The Leigh branch, based at 85 The Broadway, will close on August 5.

The Wickford branch, on 18A High Street, will close on July 8.

The Grays branch, 30 High Street, will close on July 29.