‘The situation is desperate’: Norwich shoppers on Covid resurgence

PUBLISHED: 15:59 12 October 2020

Janice Yoratch, 72, Little Plumstead          Picture: Noah Vickers

Janice Yoratch, 72, Little Plumstead Picture: Noah Vickers

Noah Vickers

With Norwich seeing a sharp upturn in coronavirus case, reporter Noah Vickers went out to speak to shoppers about their concerns.

Elaine Free, 66, former NHS administrator from Norwich. Picture: Noah VickersElaine Free, 66, former NHS administrator from Norwich. Picture: Noah Vickers

Janice Yoratch, 72


Highfield, Little Plumstead

“I feel desperate about the Covid situation. It’s so worrying, because you can pick things up so easily if you’re not careful. It spreads so quickly from one person to another. There are a lot of questions about whether you’re immune after you’ve had it and if I’ve been instructed by a bleep on the phone to isolate, do I have to do it?

“In Norfolk, we’ve got the chicken farms and agricultural farms which have been really badly affected. People in Norwich are mostly taking it seriously, and I feel safe shopping with a mask.

Paul Libowitz, 71, retired from Old Palace Road, Norwich. Picture: Noah VickersPaul Libowitz, 71, retired from Old Palace Road, Norwich. Picture: Noah Vickers

“What a job the government is faced with. It’s such a difficult situation. I think they’ve been a very generous government in some ways, because you didn’t get much from governments in the past. I think they’re listening to people, so they’re doing a really splendid job. People can say “the government is only giving me three quarters of my wage” but I’m sure with other governments, they wouldn’t even get that.”

Paul Libowitz, 71


Old Palace Road, Norwich

“It’s just disastrous. It was awful at the beginning of the year, then we had a little break while the sun was shining and now we’re back to the same old thing. My wife and I are over 70 and we’re fortunate that we have a house with a nice garden and everything, but the whole thing is depressing.

“When all the news comes out, we’re all asking what’s going on, with furlough and everything else. The country’s skint. It just seems badly managed and everyone’s giving into it. The government doesn’t know what it’s doing, because it’s getting advice from here, there and everywhere.

“I’m relatively healthy, so I don’t have many fears about my own wellbeing. I can put food on the table, so I’m very fortunate, and I’m thankful for that.”

Ruth Monsey, 60



“I feel quite safe. People seem to be behaving themselves. Some of the college kids loiter on the road and I wouldn’t go up there at lunchtime. Nobody can get past. The same goes for Specsavers, where people wait outside because of a bottleneck. All the other shops are marvellous.

“I think the government has handled the situation really well - and I’m not a Tory.”

Elaine Free, 66

Former NHS administrator


“I honestly believe it’s not us going out for a coffee that’s causing cases to rise - it’s having the universities come back. I take my 90-year-old mum out in a wheelchair, and the students come piling out. They’ve got no respect, and no masks. They’re definitely in groups of more than six. I know they’re not gonna get ill with it, but they can still spread it. They’re not staying safe. They should have staggered the re-entry into universities, like they’ve been doing at schools. I know they’ve paid all that money, and they want to party and have fun. I passed some earlier planning their Halloween party. I know that they’re young, but Covid won’t be forever, and they should just hang out in small groups until then.

“Boris Johnson isn’t clear with what he says. I don’t understand all the changes. We need testing. You have to go miles to get a test, and it’s not fair. They’ve been paying out so many people’s salaries, but we’ll have to pay it back eventually, and it’s all going to come from us. Taxes will go up, food will go up. You’ve worked hard all your life and then you have to struggle. I only retired last year, and what a retirement.

“Norwich has been really, really good for taking it seriously. In shops, people are respectful. Credit to Norwich, they’ve done really well, especially compared to other places like Bolton and Nottingham. I feel safe coming out and going to the shops. There’s plenty of room and people tend to keep their distance.”

Janet, 56


“With any luck, winter will kill the virus off. If we have a nice, cold winter, with lots of snow, why not? They normally do. I know it’s a bad virus, it’s a serious one, but I do think that will kill it off eventually, if everybody sticks to what they need to do.

“People have taken it seriously, but they’ve got upset, because they’ve heard that people have come in from other countries and carried the virus. That’s wound people up. We’ve worked really hard to keep it low. I think that explains a lot of it. If we’re going to stick to it, everyone else should too. That’s probably fair.

“I live outside of Norwich, so I don’t shop here very often. At the end of the day, I think we should all stick to the rules as much as we can, because none of us want to catch it, if we can avoid it.

“I think the government probably knew about Covid before they let us know. Other than that, I think Boris Johnson panicked, because he got it. I feel sorry for him.”

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