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Norwich shoppers keep calm and carry on amid coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 14:09 14 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:33 14 March 2020

Rosalind Seal-Coon. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Rosalind Seal-Coon. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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Shoppers in Norwich have taken a stoical outlook on life amid the growing coronavirus outbreak with most saying they had not been put off.

Norwich's high street is still busy even with the Coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Victoria PertusaNorwich's high street is still busy even with the Coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

At midday on Saturday, city centre streets were perhaps slightly quieter than a normal weekend though how much this was down to the chilly weather and rain and how much over Covid-19 concerns was not clear.

Norwich City Host Richard Edwards said: 'It is much quieter than we would normally expect at this time of year. February is normally quiet but it usually starts to build, but it has been very quiet this week apart from this morning when I had three coaches come in from holiday camps, so I have been busy personally.

'People have been mentioning coronavirus and saying it is quieter.'

He said the hosts who help visitors to the city had noticed a fall in numbers.

'I'd say we are probably about 25pc down this week on what we would normally see,' he said. 'Today's football would have brought a lot of people to the city.'

MORE: Norwich's Apple store closed in wake of Covid-19

Beverley and Lucy Harvey, who were visiting from Essex, said they had been due to be in Italy to watch rugby this weekend.

Richard Edwards. Picture: Victoria PertusaRichard Edwards. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Beverly said: 'Sadly we could not go, so we decided to come to Norwich which is a lovely place. We are not frightened of coming out. If you are going to get it you are going to get it, we are healthy and strong.

'We are washing hands more regularly. I think people have just got to be sensible if they do get it. Do not go out and don't have people visiting you. Just be sensible.'

Stephen Boardley, who works at City Shellfish Bar on Norwich Market, said: 'There are less people on the high street but that could be down to the weather, you just don't know. I think things are just carrying on as normal.

Stephen Boardley. Picture: Victoria PertusaStephen Boardley. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

'Some customers have been mentioning coronavirus. They want to know how does it affect the fish? Well it doesn't. Everything is washed and prepared. We take precautions anyway. We wash hands after every customer and everything is kept seperate.

'As long as you wash your hands. You can't keep away from people by a metre or two metres, it's not possible is it. Just put your hand over your mouth when you cough or sneeze and everyone sticks to the rule, what will be, will be.'

MORE: Castle Quarter closes community areas and toy shop scraps events as coronavirus precaution

While the Apple store in Chapelfield has been closed and Castle Quarter has closed some areas, people wearing face masks were the only obvious signs of any sorts of extra precautions.

Seventy nine-year-old Sue, from Brooke, was in Norwich her friend Fiona Wilkes, who was visiting from Stafford.

She said: 'I don't actually come into Norwich that often but I did not have any concerns about coming in today. I have not been taking any extra precautions yet.'

Mrs Wilkes added: 'I am a teacher and we are taking extra precautions with the children at school, but I don't have any worries about coming out shopping like this at the moment.'

Lucy and Beverley Harvey were supposed to be on a trip to Italy. Picture: Victoria PertusaLucy and Beverley Harvey were supposed to be on a trip to Italy. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

MORE: What are the coronavirus symptoms and should I self-isolate?

Rosalind Seal-Coon who was shopping on Gentleman's Walk with her son Freddie, five, said: 'I feel happy about coming out in Norwich, it is just going further afield. I do feel a bit worried about that.

'My parents had to cancel their holiday to Tenerife. They were just about to go and the hotel that was in lockdown was two miles away, so they thought better of that.

'My husband's office has also just got closed down in London so he will not be travelling down there anymore.'

Norwich's high street is still busy even with the Coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Victoria PertusaNorwich's high street is still busy even with the Coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

She said she had concerns about whether schools should stay open or not.

'When Boris said they were going to keep them open I thought that was a good thing because it meant I could carry on working,' she said. 'But now I think they should close them to keep him safe.'

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