‘People are so confused’ - Calls for lockdown clarity with beaches ‘very quiet’
PUBLISHED: 14:45 16 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 16 May 2020
Coastal cafe owners have called for clarity after an anticipated influx of beachgoers failed to materialise following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
While busier than in recent weeks, many visitors remained away from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth seafronts on Saturday morning.
In Lowestoft, Tides Beach owner Hayley Clarke urged the government for greater advice after being left in the dark as to whether to open this weekend.
She said: “As of 10.30 this morning I’d only had one customer. It’s very, very quiet.
“I am one of those who think: We’ve got empty beds in the hospitals at the minute and we know there’s going to be a second wave coming, so we’ve just got to get on with it.
“People are so confused and they’re staying away.
“We’re confused because we’re technically a hospitality business, but because we can offer takeaway, we have the option to open now.
“We decided to open as long as we have got the markings on the ground and masks and gloves for my staff and hand sanitiser, but there is no one we can call to ask if these steps are appropriate.
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The pandemic has led to uncertain futures for many local businesses, particularly those relying on the summer trade.
Mrs Clarke said: “Unfortunately we can’t afford to stay closed, we’re living off my husband’s wage and things are really tight.
“We’re told to apply for Universal Credit but I haven’t heard anything back.
“We have been lucky we can do that but I know a lot of people who do this as a couple and it must be worse for them.”
Despite a number of activities now allowed on the water, Oulton Broad was similarly silent while across the border in Great Yarmouth, businesses are facing a similar struggle.
Robert Trani, owner of the Anchor Cafe, had opened his seafront site for only the second day this year.
He said: “Its not very impressive so far. I thought there would have been a few more people travelling here and enjoying all the space we have got on the beach, but even the locals aren’t coming down.
“There was amazing weather at Easter and we couldn’t open, but that goes for everyone in Yarmouth.
“This is terrible for the town.
“As long as people adhere to the restrictions I don’t see why they shouldn’t be eased.”