Why haven’t some of Norfolk’s shops, pubs and cafes reopened?
PUBLISHED: 12:01 18 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:12 20 July 2020
Despite many bars, nonessential shops and restaurants reopening at the start of the month many of Norfolk’s favourites spots are yet to throw open their doors.
Although the prime minister gave the green light to go back to the pub from July 4, some establishments have kept their shutters firmly down.
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We’ve heard from some of our shops, pubs and restaurants why they made this decision.
- Lisa Angel
Jewellery and accessories brand Lisa Angel, which was founded in Norfolk, has made the decision to open some stores but not all.
The business, which has sites in Norwich’s Chapelfield shopping centre and in the city centre’s lanes, as well as concessions in Topshop Norwich, London and Manchester, said “the most important thing is that we continue to open safely whilst ensuring our customers have an enjoyable shopping experience”.
Jenna Crush, retail operations and visual merchandising manager at Lisa Angel, said: “We are sure that our loyal customers understand the government ruling (about wearing facemasks) and will comply without any problem.
“Because our priority is to keep both our staff and customers safe, we have taken the decision not to re-open our Lower Goat Lane store yet as the layout makes it very difficult to maintain safe social distancing. We have taken learnings from opening our Chapelfield store which will inform our decision making on the Lower Goat Lane outlet.”
For community cafe KindaKafe the issue is having enough funds to make the modifications to the site.
General manager Tom Gaskin has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £18,000 to make changes to the Castle Meadow eatery.
He said: “Although we love our quirky historic building it does make it a bit difficult for social distancing. As we rely mostly on volunteers there’s just no way they’d be able to socially distance in the kitchen and around the cafe itself.
“We’re trying to raise the money to make the changes so that we can get back to doing what we love and supporting our charity the Missing Kind, which works to help people struggling with loneliness and social isolation. We’re back in the office but currently we’re unable to use the cafe.”
Currently the campaign, which can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-kindakafe-norwich-to-reopen has raised £1,180 of its total goal.
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- Castle Pub
At the Castle pub in Norwich’s Spitalfields managers exercised caution for fear that the city would be locked down again.
General manager Lee Angell said: “We didn’t want to go ordering stock in and getting ready to reopen when we couldn’t be sure what was going to happen. We saw what happened in Leicester and didn’t want to rush into it too quickly.
“I think the plan now is to open in early August because we will have had more time to be certain that things are going in the right direction.”
Patrons of the pub have responded well to the news.
“We put a post up on facebook saying we weren’t going to be reopening and why, and I think our customers really appreciated that we wouldn’t reopen until we were absolutely certain it was safe to do so. We’ve got a really loyal customer base and I hope we’ll see them again soon,” he said.
- Margo’s Lounge
Karolyn Hubbard, who owns Margo’s Lounge, a vintage-themed cafe on Bells Road in Gorleston, decided to not reopen yet and will review the situation in September.
Throughout lockdown the cafe has remained open for takeaway service. Four staff have been furloughed while the baker, chef and manager are still working in-house.
“We all have people we care for, vulnerable people at home, and we feel safe and in control of the situation at the moment,” she said. Ms Hubbard said the premises is “restricted space-wise”.
“With the amount of tables we could open it would be very limited,” she added.
The plan for September would be reservations only, with three tables and slots available for breakfast and lunch or afternoon tea
“The takeaway service works very well for us,” the owner said. “We’re quite happy with the way things are going at the moment.”
- The Murderers
At Norwich pub the Murderers landlord Phil Cutter said that he may not reopen until Christmas.
The historic pub, which is famous for its sports coverage and often sees patrons packed in, has not said when it will reopen.
Owner Phil Cutter said: “Putting up perspex screens would just ruin the ambiance. We don’t want to do something that would damage the place forever.”
Mr Cutter, who runs the Timberhill venue, went on: “I would love to open, of course, but for myself and many other pubs it’s not commercially viable to reopen at half capacity. The type of pub we are relies on pints selling for four of five pounds, people nipping in for a quick one and on match days. We rely on that to keep the business going, and a lot of our customers won’t want to queue for 20 minutes and not know if they can get a table.”
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