They got us through lockdown - don’t forget our butchers, cafés and restaurants now
- Credit: Archant
Almost four months ago, restaurants and pubs were ordered to shut.
Overnight, and days before the biggest peacetime restrictions on our lives were enforced, their owners were faced with two options: Batten down the hatches and weather the storm, or adapt.
Neither option was enviable, but the majority - driven in large part by necessity - plumped for the latter, forced to, in a matter of days, transform.
Delivery became a requisite, as even fine dining restaurants, renowned in part for their presentation and focus on the details, created takeaway meals for diners to heat up and put together at home.
Rural parts of Norfolk, who for years had to hop in the car for dinner out, found themselves with a rotating menu of food trucks and drive-through street food festivals.
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Families launched new ventures - from popcorn to picnics - and independent traders bested their big name rivals with speedy delivery.
When supermarket shelves were bare and loo roll nowhere to be seen, butchers and farm shops gave us the tools we needed for endless streams of banana bread and sourdough loaves, as generous eateries donated hot meals to those most in need.
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I could go on, but we all saw it: They were faced with an overwhelming challenge - and more than rose to it.
When viewed against the lives and jobs lost, a takeaway, of course, isn’t much to shout about.
But wasn’t it the pick-me-up we needed? Weeks in, when Friday felt the same as Monday and loneliness crept in, the familiar flavours of our favourite haunt and the ease of a hot meal on the doorstep was a comfort.
The support we so keenly gave can’t wane now. The furlough scheme ends soon and, as many of us tiptoe into the new normal, we don’t know when, or even if, the economic storm will fully bite.
Practicalities are on the horizon, the lure of an easy supermarket trip fast returning. But we must continue to support the independent traders who go above and beyond, and who give our county so much character.
If your local farm shop made sure your shielding parents had greens, a restaurant helped you celebrate your lockdown birthday or a café’s takeaway coffee became a staple of your daily walk - please don’t forget them. Our Love Local campaign is encouraging shoppers and diners to support local independent traders.