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‘They need us the most’ - 80pc of people would be more inclined to support local businesses, survey finds

PUBLISHED: 08:08 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:08 14 July 2020

Businesses in Dereham flung open their doors to eager shoppers for the first time since lockdown began at the end of March. Picture: Archant

Businesses in Dereham flung open their doors to eager shoppers for the first time since lockdown began at the end of March. Picture: Archant

Archant

More than 80pc of people in one Norfolk town would feel more inclined to support independent businesses after the coronavirus crisis, a survey has found.

Quiet streets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYQuiet streets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The EDP and Dereham Times asked business owners, employees and shoppers in Dereham about their experiences of the high street during coronavirus lockdown and once restrictions were eased.

While essential businesses remained open throughout the pandemic, non-essential shops were allowed to open their doors on June 15, with other businesses following.

Breckland, in partnership with South Norfolk and Broadland councils, also launched it’s ‘Shop with Confidence’ scheme, with the aim to encourage footfall to return to pre-Covid levels as quickly as possible and get cash in traders’ tills and back into the local economy, all while being safe.

The survey, which was completed by more than 90 shoppers, showed 85pc of people are using the high street less than they did before the outbreak, with the other 15pc stating they use it the same amount.

Quiet streets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYQuiet streets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

When it came to customers feeling safe shopping on the high street, 26pc of those who filled out the survey said they did not feel safe, 37pc said they did while the other 37pc stated they weren’t sure if they felt safe.

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When asked why shoppers didn’t feel safe, the most common answers included, people are not social distancing, people do not abide by one way systems and pavements are too narrow.

When shoppers were asked what changes they had noticed on Dereham’s high street, 18pc said they had seen more community spirit and 24pc said people were excited to be back.

Quiet streets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYQuiet streets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A total of 67pc of people said they were more inclined to support independent businesses in Dereham post pandemic, while 16.5pc said they might be more likely to support them and a further 16.5pc said they wouldn’t.

One person who completed the survey anonymously, said: “Well done to all the businesses that have reopened and made necessary changes to make shopping feel safer.

“I have been back on the high street a number of times and it has been great to see everybody getting back to normal.”

Another respondent said: “All the shops have done a brilliant job of rearranging their stores, I feel very safe.

Businesses in Dereham flung open their doors to eager shoppers for the first time since lockdown began at the end of March. Picture: ArchantBusinesses in Dereham flung open their doors to eager shoppers for the first time since lockdown began at the end of March. Picture: Archant

“I have also been making more of an effort to support local businesses, they need us the most.”


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