‘It’s been really difficult’ - independent retailers preparing for June reopening
PUBLISHED: 18:08 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:08 26 May 2020
Independent store owners in Ipswich are keen to get back to work next month - and have pledged to ensure measures are in place to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced all non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen on June 15, dependent on if the continuing coronavirus lockdown is deemed successful.
Many stores will have remained shut for nearly three months by the time the government will allow them to reopen.
Nevertheless, traders in Ipswich’s St Peter’s Street are relishing returning to normal business - but have spoke of the impact the lockdown has had.
John Manning, who owns home furnishings store The House in Town, has been using his website to continue taking orders while his store has remained closed.
However, Mr Manning said he misses the “personal” aspect of shopping in-store, and hoped the lockdown will alter people’s buying habits.
He said: “I’m absolutely looking forward to reopening - this shop is what I am and it’s been really difficult without it.
“I’m entirely confident we will return to normal.
“Hopefully, this episode will result in more people supporting small businesses.
“I will take every measure I can to make everything as safe as possible. But there has to be an element of common sense from shoppers.”
Mr Manning’s mother Wendy Childs, owner of Maud’s Attic, added: “I’m really keen to get back. I have spent the last week reorganising our shop so we’re ready.
“I’m totally confident we can recover. We are very determined, but you cannot make up for these lost months.
“This crisis is something that will hit harder for people that have only just opened.
“We will be social distancing here in the shop, and will sanitise everybody and anything they touch.
“Let’s hope this is all over soon.”
Lynn Turner, owner of boutique Cake and Catwalk, is planning measures such as steaming clothes to help reduce the spread of the virus.
She said: “We’re not expecting a rush of customers but we have to have a plan. We need to make people comfortable.
“I think it will take at least a year to recover from this.”
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