'It feels like Christmas': Shoppers return to city as lockdown lifts
- Credit: Neil Didsbury
The hustle and bustle returned to the streets of Norwich city centre today, as shoppers and businesses said it was finally starting to feel like Christmas.
On the first morning after the second national lockdown, many families flocked to the city for their first Christmas shopping trip.
Smiling faces and hands filled with shopping bags could be seen down Gentleman's Walk and everyone seemed to be sticking to the Tier Two rules.
Bernie Junior, a fitness instructor from Norwich, said: “Today has been a lot busier which is nice to see.
"The last three of four weeks have just been dead in the city. I’m always here so it’s been great to go out and see people back on the streets.
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“I can see lots of smiling faces, the atmosphere is back and it’s just in time for Christmas. I am really happy with this.”
Rachel Kerrison, from Belton, was on her way to return some clothing to Primark. She said: “I have been working from home since March and I have this week off we just wanted to get out and do something today.
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“From what I have seen so far, I think everyone is feeling happy because of the news of the vaccine.”
For many businesses, today is the first time in a month their doors have reopened to customers and just in time for the busiest time of the year.
Dan Fridd, 45, co-owner of Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, said: “It feels really special today. Lots of people have already been coming in.
“We have actually had an incredible response from the community in supporting us.
“In November last month, we beat November the year before which is incredible. Who would have thought that would happen with the doors shut?
“Today is a good day.”
Sally Davies, 36, a staff member at the shop, added: “It just feels like Christmas, jolly, lovely and warm.”
Mike Read, owner of Mike, Debs and Sons fruit and veg stall on Norwich market, has been open throughout the last lockdown and today he said it’s like everything has gone back to normal.
“People are about, they are all talking and shopping and walking around with loads of bags, which is lovely,” he said.
“It has been a lovely atmosphere today. People feel free. Look at them, they are just happy to be walking about.”
Gail Block, 57, co-owner of G B Plants, said: “This is our first day back and we have been well supported by people. All of our old customers are coming back.
“The atmosphere has been good.”
Katie Lee, 19, and Neve Owen, 20, are both students at the UEA. Ms Lee said: “We have been stuck in our halls for a whole month so it’s nice to be out and we are happy that we can shop again."