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Diss in high spirits as dozens of shops reopen

PUBLISHED: 17:46 15 June 2020

Nicola Ready, owner of clothing shop Flories in Diss, was pleased to see customers returning. Picture: Archant

Nicola Ready, owner of clothing shop Flories in Diss, was pleased to see customers returning. Picture: Archant

Archant

Shoppers and business owners in Diss were in high spirits as non-essential shops opened for the first time since lockdown began.

Shoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: ArchantShoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: Archant

As dozens of customers made a tentative return to their favourite stores on Monday (June 15), the mood was optimistic and the town busy as people enjoyed summer sunshine.

Thousands of businesses across the country deemed non-essential have been closed since March, when Boris Johnson announced a widespread lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Birgitte Mager, director at Diss Publishing Bookshop and Cafe, welcomed back customers as non-essential stores were permitted to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Picture: ArchantBirgitte Mager, director at Diss Publishing Bookshop and Cafe, welcomed back customers as non-essential stores were permitted to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Picture: Archant

But as the latest step towards a welcome return to normality came into force, Diss began to resemble its former self following an unprecedented few months.

Birgitte Mager, owner of Diss Publishing Bookshop and cafe, said it had been “delightful” to finally welcome back customers.

Shoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: ArchantShoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: Archant

“We came in at 9am but spent over an hour going through our health and safety measures to make sure we were COVID-compliant, by which point people were queuing up outside,” said Mrs Mager.

“The stream of customers has been steady, I would say. I can’t say we’ve been busy, but we just think it’s lovely people want to come back and get back to normal.

June Jones (left) and Mags Jamieson were delighted to see non-essential shops reopen in Diss following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: ArchantJune Jones (left) and Mags Jamieson were delighted to see non-essential shops reopen in Diss following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Archant

“Customers are browsing but they’re buying as well, which is really important for us. Hopefully in time the tourists will begin to come back too.”

Last week South Norfolk Council unveiled its ‘Shop With Confidence’ campaign, which has seen measures put in place boost safety and make visitors feel more confident.

Shoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: ArchantShoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: Archant

In Diss, police were on hand to advise motorists as changes which have seen one-way restrictions on Market Place and Market Hill reversed came into force.

Keen shoppers Mags Jamieson and June Jones, who live locally, said they had been “counting down the days” since the prime minister gave stores permission to reopen.

Shoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: ArchantShoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: Archant

“It has been absolutely wonderful to come back,” said Mrs Jones. “I’ve missed coming to the shops, catching up with people and our little Diss is a wonderful place to be.

“Everybody has been smiling and talking to each other too, which really makes a difference.”

Shoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: ArchantShoppers returned to Diss town centre as non-essential businesses were permitted to reopen for the first time since coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: Archant

Mrs Jamieson added: “All the shops are looking beautiful and we’re delighted to be here and help support our little economy.

“We’re sensible people and everybody’s taking precautions and following all the rules. The town is definitely ready for shoppers to come back.”


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