‘People are relieved to see something in the flesh’ - town’s non-essential shops reopen
- Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske
You’d be forgiven for thinking the pandemic was over in one town this morning as shoppers flocked to its centre, however a large number of non-essential shops remained closed.
Queues streamed from the entrances of The Drugstore and QD in the centre of the town, however there was an eerie silence at the doors of all the town’s many charity shops as their doors and many others remained shut.
Shoppers formed socially distant queues outside shops which had limited numbers, however there were no new rules for visitors to follow or officers to enforce social distancing, with most people sticking to the advise voluntarily.
Kelly Austin, who works in The Drugstore, which opened today for the first time since March 23, said the shop had seen a constant wave of visitors since opening this morning, with all of them respecting the social distancing rules.
She said: “It’s pretty busy at the moment, because we have to limit the number of people in the shop, we’ve just had people coming in and out constantly all day. Everyone’s been sticking to social distancing and everyone has been just as nice as normal.”
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Also reopening for the first time since lockdown was electrical shop JB Postle and Son, which is currently limited to between two to three customers at a time, with customers patiently waiting outside for their turn.
Shop manager Simon Greenfield said: “We’ve been very busy so it’s gone very well, it’s been about the same as an ordinary busy day, straight back into it as if we’d never been away, lots of phone enquiries and the footfall has been very steady.
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“We’re getting a mix of about 50 pc of people wearing masks, people don’t seem to be scared to come out, but they do seem to have more patience, they seem to be quite happy to wait at the door until we’ve served a few customers.
“Most people are just relieved to see something in the flesh.”
Jones Francis Jewellers has seen flocks of customers looking for new batteries for their watches after they ran down during lockdown.
Owner Terry Spellman said: “We’ve had queues this morning because they all wanted their batteries changed, we’ve got plenty of stock, we’ve got everything here that people will want but all they really want at the moment is the batteries changed.
“As one woman told me this morning her battery died two days after lockdown and I said to her I wouldn’t worry, you’ve done without it for two and a half months and your watch has been right twice a day.”
Large queues at supermarkets appeared to have died down as families turned their attention to shopping locally.