Businesses across West Norfolk have to try to survive a second lockdown – just as some were “beginning to get back on their feet”.
Yesterday was the first day of a four-week closure of non-essential stores and premises such as salons, restaurants, pubs, gyms and cinemas in England.
The new restrictions have been ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to a surge in coronavirus infections.
Figures released by Public Health England this week showed the seven-day incidence rate for Norfolk to October 28 was 911 cases, a rise from 810 and West Norfolk’s rate had risen from 73 cases to 134.
In today’s (Friday’s) column in Your Local Paper, North West Norfolk MP James Wild, said: “It is very disappointing that we are in this position just as some businesses were beginning to get back on their feet.
“I know how tough this is for firms and the impact on companies in supply chains.”
Mr Wild also raised in Parliament on Tuesday the impact on hospices including The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House at Hillington, which he said was set to lose £100,000 as a result of its charity shops having to shut again.
He asked the government to put another urgent support package in place for hospices, patients and their families.
Meanwhile, in a bid to keep their trade going, a number of local restaurants, cafes, tea rooms and other businesses will offer takeaways, deliveries, online purchasing, and call and collect.
There was a last minute flurry of shoppers in King’s Lynn determined to beat the lockdown deadline. Some of the businesses having to close, extended their opening hours this week to make the most of trading.
King’s Lynn BID (Business Improvement District) manager Vicky Etheridge said: “I think there is a lot of uncertainty about what happens next and whether this lockdown will only be one month long, as a BID we will be looking to add our voice to other BIDs and business groups in asking the government to come up with an exit strategy so that we can avoid future lockdowns.
“Seeing how town centre businesses have adapted since March, I know that most will be pragmatic and will be putting in place whatever measures they can to keep going and keep in touch with their customers.”
She added: “We will continue to support our town centre businesses with information and advice about funding, employment issues, and with practical support for digital skills so that they can make the most of digital platforms to sell products, services and keep in touch with customers whilst they are closed.”
A directory of stores and services can be found on the Angels of King’s Lynn Facebook page under “Files”.
The co-founder of the group, a community support and information hub launched after the March lockdown, has urged people who need help to get in touch.
Kerry Robinson said: “I do worry about those who live on their own and are lonely, and people with their mental health. But it must be remembered that people can still see someone in their support bubble or, when on their own, with one person from another household outside.”
Mrs Robinson hoped lockdown would be “less frantic” this time for the online group, which has more than 4,500 members.
“Everything is in place, it pretty much runs itself, it works perfectly. It’s about the community pulling together,” she said.