‘A kick in the teeth’ - Bosses of new firms facing lockdown before hardly opening
- Credit: Archant
People who have fought to open new businesses during lockdown are today facing the bitter blow of being told to close.
Bosses of new small businesses launched in the pandemic now face closing down because of the second lockdown, some even before opening up.
Businessman Jon Hook, who with his wife Jodie took over the former Tea House in Elm Hill, reopening it as the Courtyard Cafe last month, said: “We were trying to resurrect the Norfolk economy and lockdown is a real kick in the teeth.
“The tier structure had worked well and we were trading and people had really supported us. We can’t run it as a takeaway so we will be closing it completely from Thursday. It’s devastating, we realise it is necessary to bring Covid under control, but of course we feel utterly disappointed.”
Others had hardly got their new ventures off the ground before facing the shutdown.
After months in the making, he will now have to close it and his other business, the Oak bar and Terrace in Thorpe St Andrew, on Wednesday.
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“I think it’s disappointing that Norfolk isn’t judged on its own merits and has to face the same restrictions as places where they haven’t controlled it as well as we have,” he said.
“There are many in the industry who won’t survive through no fault of their own. The biggest issue for many will be rents and the government must do its best to help those with landlords who won’t suspend rents.
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“We knew the risks but we will use the time we did with the Oaklands and invest in a new kitchen and outdoor heating at East Hills. We will also work with our community to ensure we all look after each other and that when we reopen we are ready to welcome people the best way we can.”
Anthony Winterbourne, who was due to open up a pop-up gin shop in Norwich’s Royal Arcade next month, called on business owners to plough their efforts into helping the community.
“It’s going to be tough for small businesses but the focus needs to be on doing your bit for people and your business will eventually thrive. Help the key workers and focus on selling online or click and collect and people will support you. I just hope I can open my new gin shop in December.”