Fish and chip shop reopens for first time since lockdown

PUBLISHED: 18:51 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:51 07 July 2020

Fish and chip shop The Frying Machine in Thorpe St Andrew has reopened for the first time since lockdown.  Picture: James Bass

Fish and chip shop The Frying Machine in Thorpe St Andrew has reopened for the first time since lockdown. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic© 2009

A fish and chip shop in a Norfolk town which remained completely shut during lockdown has reopened for the first time with customers coming in their droves.

The Frying Machine on Furze Road in Thorpe St Andrew, which closed at the start of the pandemic and decided not to offer a takeaway service, reopened on Monday.

Customers came “piling down” to tuck into fish and chips as staff reported a “busy” first day.

Graham Heazle, who has been a fish fryer at The Frying Machine for 12 years, said: “Everyone was like ‘hooray the fish and chip shop is open again’ and came piling down here.

“It was fairly busy for a Monday, particularly lunchtime. There were more or less the same number of customers as there were before coronavirus.”

The fish and chip shop has been closed since March and opted not to offer a takeaway service for health and safety reasons, while all staff were put on furlough.

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Mr Heazle said: “It stayed closed for health and safety reasons as the boss didn’t want to run the risk of exposing us to the virus.

“Now it has been judged safe to open with all the restaurants and other business reopening over the last weekend.”

Prior to reopening, a series of measures were introduced in the shop in order to protect staff and customers.

No customers are allowed inside the shop and instead must order through a hatch and then pick up the food from another hatch.

Customers can pay in cash although contactless payment is preferred and encouraged where possible.

A queuing system outside has also been put in place with reminders to social-distance.

On reopening for the first time in months, Mr Heazle said: “It was exciting and I also felt a bit of trepidation. I’m glad to be back and to be back in the routine.

“I’m expecting the shop to get busier particularly over Thursday and Friday but I’m sure everyone will use their common sense and we’ll manage it as we go.”

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