‘Nobody wanted this’ - How businesses in neighbouring market towns are facing lockdown
PUBLISHED: 13:46 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 13:46 05 November 2020
We don’t want lockdown, but it’s necessary.
That is the message from business owners in Beccles and Bungay as they face up to a second spell of stringent nationwide coronavirus restrictions.
From Thursday, November 5, until Wednesday, December 2, non-essential retail, pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, theatres and hairdressers will be forced to close as the country goes into a second lockdown.
This means that many businesses across Suffolk are learning to adapt to try and survive the month long lockdown.
Paul Buck is Director of Baileys Delicatessen in Beccles which operates both as a shop and a restaurant.
As a food shop, Mr Buck’s business falls under the category of an ‘essential shop’ so is allowed to remain open during the second lockdown.
Mr Buck said: “I’m not surprised we are heading into a second national lockdown. Nobody wanted this but it makes sense.
“During the last few months, we have been doing everything to get on top of this disease and the government have been generous with the grants given and the furlough scheme.
“The shame is the government have not been proactive enough. They didn’t take action fast enough last time and haven’t done so this time and it’s not good for business.
“November is usually a busy time for us and other local businesses, we have already spent money on Christmas stock.
“My worry is what if this lockdown is extended like the last one.”
However, Mr Buck went on to say that business has been booming since lockdown was lifted and during the days before the second national lockdown.
He said: “It’s encouraging for us as a small business because we have seen a good number of people in store.
“We will probably furlough some staff because we are shutting the restaurant part down and downscale supplier operations for the month.
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“We are shutting down the restaurant side of the business but we fall under the bracket of an essential shop so this will stay open.
“We sell a range of special cheeses, jams and meats and this acts as a treat for people during lockdown and encourages them to shop local still.”
Across the county in Bungay, Sarah Green owns a gift and card shop called Wave.
Unlike Baileys Delicatessen, Ms Green’s shop will be forced to close because it is classed as a ‘non-essential shop.’
Whilst Ms Green has seen promising numbers of people in her shop this week, she is worried about what a second national lockdown will mean for business.
Ms Green said: “I’m gutted about the lockdown but it is necessary.
“We will lose Christmas sales and we can’t adapt as a business because we will be shut and I will be forced to furlough staff. I still have Easter stock in the back cupboards.
“It has had a knock-on effect for our suppliers with Christmas orders being cancelled this week. This impacts everyone.
“This week though we have seen Christmas level footfall in store for Christmas cards, gifts and even people shopping for November birthdays.”
Ms Green added that her store will survive the second lockdown but only if the lockdown lasts a month.
“I urge people to shop local with non essential shops after this pandemic or you will lose us,” she added.
Didy Ward is the Chair of Bungay Events Business Association and has been working to ensure businesses across the area receive support during this lockdown.
Mrs Ward said: “All businesses offering food in Bungay will be able to operate as a takeaway service for the second lockdown.
“There is support and grants from the government as well. Grants of £1,334 are on offer for businesses with property rateable value of £15,000 or under, £2,000 grants for businesses with property rateable value of £15,000-£51,000 and grants of £3,000 for businesses with property rateable value of £51,000 or more.
“Bungay’s businesses are nimble and versatile and we will get through this pandemic.”
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