'If they move us to tier one we'll open' - businesses prepare for tier two restrictions

Colin Page, owner of CD Page confectioner and tobacconist in North Walsham. Pictures: David Bale

Colin Page, owner of CD Page confectioner and tobacconist in North Walsham. Pictures: David Bale - Credit: Archant

With the national lockdown coming to an end on Wednesday, many businesses are preparing to welcome back customers under tier two restrictions, however some say they cannot open until north Norfolk returns to tier one.

During lockdown, North Walsham pub, the Hop-In, has been paying the bills by doing off-sales of its beer, and owner Nigel Davies says that will be the only way the pub will be able to continue trading due to strict tier two restrictions, unless the county is moved to tier one.

Our Town - North Walsham. The Hop In, one of the new businesses in town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Hop-In pub in North Walsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

He said: "Obviously we're still under lockdown for the next couple of days and what we'll continue to do is the off-sales where they have to book a slot to come and pick up an order.

"We were hoping that we were going to be in tier one by the end of this week, but obviously not, so all we'll be able to do is the continued off-sales until they get to December 16 when we hope that in the review they'll look at moving some of the tiers, because if we went down to tier one we would be able to properly open.

"We'll continue with the take away sales, which is okay, it pays the rent but that's it really. If they move us down to tier one we'll open but that's it really obviously some pubs can open if they do food, so your Wetherspoons and those sort of places will be okay.

"We were thinking about putting a marquee up to serve outside, but then there was all this kafuffle about having to get planning permission, so that was all too complicated and anyway its too wet and miserable outside at the moment." 

The re-opening of some shops in North Walsham following lockdown saw shoppers return to the town cen

North Walsham's shops are preparing to reopen following the second lockdown. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

North Walsham tobacconist and sweet shop C.D Page, has been open throughout lockdown as it was deemed essential due to the fact it sells tobacco.

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Owner Colin Page said the town had seen a large dip in customers during lockdown, adding that he hoped the end of restrictions would mean an uptick in sales of Christmas confectionary.

He said: "We're hoping to see a few new faces, obviously with day to day opening it won't make any difference to us but we are now hoping with Christmas coming up, there's going to be a few more people out and about and we're going to do a little bit more trade.

"We obviously order in early on the basis of Christmas trade and these last three or four weeks have been very quite, so obviously we're hoping we're going to see an upturn now.

Mr Page said tier two restrictions were a little unfair on businesses who cannot trade until the county is in tier one, due to the low infection rates in north Norfolk.

He added: "It's hard to say, in north Norfolk the cases are low but they have been rising previously and I suppose they're looking at the whole county as a whole rather than individual areas.

"If it was on its own I think we probably would be in tier one so I suppose it's a bit unfair on a lot of people, but I guess it's difficult to stop people moving between towns.

North Walsham Community Shop is ready to reopen its charity shop on Wednesday, with manager Bob Wright hoping that the lifting of restrictions will lead to a sales surge.

Mr Wright said: "We'll be opening up the shop again, during lockdown the giving away food part of the community fridge has been open but we've not been able to sell anything.

"We've not been doing any trading at all but we've got a wide array of things in stock ready, there's books, household items and toys and games, all manor of stuff.

"Hopefully people might come out for some Christmas shopping, I think after the last lockdown we saw a bit of a rise in sales and also a surge in donations because people use lockdown for a sort out of their houses."

North Walsham Community Shop and Fridge will open two new shops in North Walsham tomorrow. Photo: No

North Walsham Community Shop and Fridge. Photo: North Walsham Community Shop - Credit: Archant

M&D Butchers in Sheringham has been open throughout the second lockdown, however butcher Andy Banning says it will bring a community spirit back to the high street when other businesses reopen.

He said: "It probably won't make much difference to us because we've been open the whole time, we're gearing up now for the Christmas bits so it's getting busier anyway with all the orders.

"Maybe we'll see a few more but like I say we've been really busy anyway, but it will be nice to see the other shops open, it's depressing when you walk out there and nothing else is open, as long as people are being safe that's the main thing."

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