Fears Covid-19 has killed Saturday forever as seaside town is hit hard
- Credit: Archant
Great Yarmouth had an end-of-season feel - but with bells on - as the first Saturday of the second lockdown landed.
Having just got to its feet from the last one which hit just before the tourist season, the imposition of a second before Christmas had taken away any hope of things improving, one market stall holder said.
Bathed in sunshine and with temperatures climbing incongruously to 17 degrees, the shuttered seafront and its arcade machines shrouded in plastic from behind closed doors, was home to just a few joggers and mums with prams as a handful of takeaways offered ice-creams and teas.
Away from the Golden Mile in town it seemed relatively normal, by current standards, with a fair few people milling about, some in short sleeves.
But few of them were buying said Ros Clelland from behind tiered towers of colourful fruit and veg.
“There’s a fair few people but trade has been awful,” she said.
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“I think people have just come out for a stroll, but that’s not going to pay the bills.
“They are probably going to the supermarket and doing it all in one go.”
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At the nearby pea stall father and son team Gary and John Salmon said it was so quiet they were thinking about shutting at 2pm: “We have lost a lot of shops anyway. There is very little to come into town for.
“We are trying to keep things going and do the best we can.
“As long as we stand together we will get through this.
“Things are very different this year, it does not feel like a Saturday.
“We get a lot of people from Norwich, but we haven’t seen them.
“This time of year it is mostly local trade.”
Meanwhile at Brewer’s chip stall trade was said to be “slow, slow, slow”, one man declaring: “There will never, ever be a normal Saturday again.”
And at Jack’s Flowers the owner stood by his bank of cheerful blooms - bought at the last minute thinking he was going to able to trade, only to be told he couldn’t.
Under the slightly more relaxed lockdown more shops and takeaways were open and there were benches to sit on around the Market Place, whereas as last time they were cleared away or taped off.
Taking a seat and sharing a portion of famous market chips was Lee Brooker and his daughter Osscara, aged seven.
The pair had been lured out by the sunshine and come out for some fresh air while his partner was at work.
Mr Brooker said Yarmouth seemed quiet compared to the summer season, but that it was nice to be able to get out and share a portion of chips and cheese.
Also popping out for a stroll and something to eat was Hannah Taylor and her daughter Madeline.
Mrs Taylor said they had walked in from Palgrave Road to buy pancakes from the dessert bar in Market Gates for Madeline, nearly three, whose birthday plans which would have featured a family gathering of some 40 people had been called off.
“We have had to postpone so have come out for some pancakes, so it is nice we can still do things like this.
“We have just got to get on with it and use common sense and hope others are getting on with it too.”
Among those not observing social distancing rules were the town’s seagulls, buoyed by the numbers of people eating chips they were busy invading personal space and swooping at the unwary.