‘It’s lovely to see Dereham like this’ - officer praises shoppers as town centre reopens
PUBLISHED: 16:29 15 June 2020
A police officer has praised responsible shoppers visiting a Norfolk town as non-essential stores reopened for the first time in almost three months.
Businesses in Dereham flung open their doors to eager shoppers for the first time since lockdown began at the end of March.
With more people expected than “normal”, PC Jon Downs had been stationed in the heart of the town to make sure social distancing was adhered to.
He said: “It started off slow, a lot of people were talking to us because some of the shops aren’t open.
“People on the first day, as you can imagine it could go crazy. So we got out there first thing to give a little bit of education, talk to people about social distancing and show people that we were out there to support them.
“Everybody is adhering to the social distancing guidance and everyone is being polite and respectful.”
Although non-essential shops have been allowed to reopen, businesses have strict advice from the government to ensure they are ‘covid secure’.
PC Downs said: “I have had no issues what so ever, all the shops have put out signs and people are adhering to that.”
“A lot of the shops were open already so people had got used to the social distancing.
“The nice thing for us is the positive response that we are getting. Everybody has thanked us for coming out and are asking us questions, it’s getting there.
“Everyone is in really good spirits, the town is vibrant. It’s lovely to see Dereham like this.”
Abigail’s Card and Gift Shop in Nelson Place opened for the first time since lockdown was brought into place at the end of March.
Owner, Alex Flatt, said: “It has been great to see everybody again and see that out regulars are safe and well.
“We have added in perspex, floor markings and have a limit on how many people can be in the shop at one time.
“We have been really busy this morning, which has been great. We really rely on our locals and regulars as a business.”
Carl Alcock, owner of Shoe Doctor, said: “We came back on June 3, once we had the perspex screen made.
“I was itching to get back to work. I should have waited a little longer because I’m high risk due to medication that I am on.
“It’s been much busier today but I think it will take time for the high street to get back to where it was.”
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