'There is an appetite for shopping' - Optimism ahead of restrictions easing

David and Natasha Cox, owners of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing

David and Natasha Cox, owners of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing to re-open on April 12 when further COVID restrictions lift. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Shoppers are looking forward to returning to the high street.

That was the positive message from the owner of an independent fashion store in Norwich preparing to reopen on April 12, as the government continues to ease coronavirus restrictions for non-essential shops and other businesses.

Natasha and David Cox, owners of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing

Natasha and David Cox, owners of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing to re-open on April 12 when further COVID restrictions lift. - Credit: Danielle Booden

David Cox, 57, from Taverham, who has run Butterfly on White Lion Street for the past 15 years, said: "We are looking forward to getting back. We are very optimistic about things. Most people are looking forward to getting out again. There is appetite from people to go shopping. I think it will be alright."

Natasha Cox, co-owner of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing to re-op

Natasha Cox, co-owner of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing to re-open on April 12 when further COVID restrictions lift. - Credit: Danielle Booden

He added there were already plenty people milling about in the city centre, where his shop is that sells women's clothes.

Mr Cox, who traded on nearby Norwich Market for 20 years before opening Butterfly, said he had lost 50pc of his takings over the past year.

But he praised the financial support from the government and council which helped the business tick over.

David Cox, co-owner of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing to re-open

David Cox, co-owner of Butterfly clothing shop on White Lion Street in Norwich, preparing to re-open on April 12 when further COVID restrictions lift. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"We are still trading and will be in the next few years. You have to suck it up," Mr Cox added.

The shop owner, who works alongside his wife and a part-time assistant, said everyone who visited Butterfly last year in between lockdowns was sensible and hopeful people would continue that behaviour.

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As well as the wearing of masks, customers have to use hand sanitiser and there are restrictions on the numbers of people in the store at one time.

Mr Cox added the majority of people paid by contactless card last year, rather than in cash.

He said: "Hopefully everyone is having their jabs. The government has handled that part well."

The business owner admitted there had been retail casualties because of the virus and lockdowns but added: "A lot of businesses were suffering before coronavirus."



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