‘Scary but we’ve got to do it’ - How city shoppers feel about July 4 reopenings
PUBLISHED: 14:57 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:57 03 July 2020
Delight or despair - those were the thoughts of Norwich shoppers as the city prepared for the next stage of lockdown easing.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas are among businesses that have been given the green light by the government to open their doors to customers once again on Saturday.
But for University of East Anglia students, Yumnah Khan and Christa Jose, both 19, it is too soon.
Ms Khan said: “It is too early for pubs to reopen as it is impossible to keep to social-distancing when you have been drinking, and we have seen in other counties there has been a second spike in coronavirus cases.
“I personally will not go to a pub, or a place like that, for two months now and that is only if the situation stays the same or there is a drop in cases.”
Ms Jose added: “You walk around and you don’t see people wearing face coverings and that is concerning. I won’t be going out either, but when I do, I’ll most be looking forward to going to a Wetherspoons pub.”
Another shopper, who did not wanted be named, aged 19, from Attleborough, and a worker at Sainsbury’s, feared the reopening of pubs would be “utter carnage.”
She said: “It is ridiculous you will be able to go to a pub from Saturday but still can’t get close to some family members. Drinking is just not essential.
“I will be avoiding the city centre one million percent and I am only here today for my sister’s birthday celebrations.”
In the city centre, there are signs of pubs ready to reopen with a host of safety measures in place.
This includes The Wildman on Bedford Street which, on Friday, had a sign up in the door welcoming the return of customers.
Some pubs, however, have taken the decision to not reopen on July 4.
Elsewhere in Norwich, Kelly Nickerson, 39, from Gorleston, and Helen Barr, 31, from Norwich, were eager for life to return back to normal.
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They were sat near to a cluster of shops on London Street, all of which had 2m floor markings outside and a staff member wearing a mask guiding people in.
Ms Nickerson, a student, said: “I think it’s great as we need to get back to normal life. It is scary but we’ve got to do it.
“We’re lucky as Norfolk has not had a lot of cases compared to the rest of the world and, for that reason, it’s good businesses are reopening.”
The friends predicted queues on Saturday and were both most looking forward to restaurants returning.
Margaret Prime, in her 70s, from Great Plumstead, also could not wait for restaurants to reopen.
She said: “I really think, for the economy’s sake, things need to be reopened and it is good things are starting to happen.”
Some businesses in the city centre have already reopened, as non-essential shops were able to open their doors on June 22.
Henry Layte, owner of The Book Hive on London Street, is open but customers are not allowed to enter the shop and instead must order from a stall in the front door.
He said: “We’re going to keep it like this for another week or so, then customers will be able to come in. I’m not totally relaxed about fully opening the shop up but I’m not panicking either.”
Perched on steps outside The Forum, home to the Millennium Library which will open on Monday, were Nick Jackson, 62, from Norwich and Joe Devlin, 74, from Hethersett.
While Mr Devlin thought reopening businesses on a weekend was a “crazy idea”, he said it was good things were starting to go back to business.
Mr Jackson, meanwhile, welcomed the returns of cafes, bars and other businesses.
He said: “It is good for young people all these things are reopening although personally, for myself, I won’t be participating as I’m still nervous about going out.
“I am, however, very happy for things to be open. Especially because people in the hospitality industry, who are at risk of losing their livelihoods, desperately need for them to be open.”
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