Traders adapt in the hope of post-lockdown festive boom
- Credit: Steve Adams
Businesses in Norwich are making final preparations ahead of reopening at the end of the second lockdown - just in time for the busy festive period.
And while they face unprecedented difficulties, many are looking forward to welcoming customers back.
Shops, salons, pubs and restaurants have already missed out on crucial trade in the build-up to Christmas.
Ian Perry, landlord of The Cottage in Thorpe St Andrew, said: “We can’t wait. We will be pleased to see some people through the door. But I think it is completely unjust the tier that we have been placed in but we have to deal with it.”
Restaurants say reservations are looking healthy, but that rules limiting diners to only eat with their households could affect trade.
Terry Hughes, of the Belgian Monk in Pottergate, said: "It will have a massive impact because it will be limiting who can come out - you are not going to be able to go out if you are two couples as a party. That's our concern.”
Stefan Gurney, executive director of the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), said that prior to the lockdown footfall in Norwich had dipped slightly, but that it was about 75pc of what it was last year.
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Traders will be hoping to see a return of custom once lockdown ends on Wednesday and the region enters Tier 2 restrictions. Many have take extra measures and adapted their business in the hope of a festive boom.
Mr Perry said: “We have increased our outside area, put up a marquee, and have outdoor heaters so that people can eat outside in comparative warmth, and are introducing a new cost-friendly menu to encourage people.”
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He is hoping to restart hosting weddings and corporate events in the run up to Christmas, and will also be catering for business parties by starting a takeaway service.
He said: “They are not allowed out for Christmas parties and we cannot hold the usual dinner and dances that we do, so we are flipping it on its head and taking the food to them.”
He added: “None of us are happy with the situation but there is no point just whining about it. We just have to do the best that we can while we are in it. We just have to hope there is a vaccine coming around very quickly.”