Independent shops prepare to reopen in June – but will Ipswich shoppers visit?

A number of independent stores in the popular St Peter's Street will reopen in June. Picture: CHARLO

A number of independent stores in the popular St Peter's Street will reopen in June. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

People in Ipswich say they will continue to “shop online for the foreseeable future” despite stores planning to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.

Will you be visiting independent stores in Ipswich once they reopen in June? Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Will you be visiting independent stores in Ipswich once they reopen in June? Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Boris Johnson has announced all non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen on June 15, providing the current coronavirus lockdown continues to prove successful.

Many stores will have been shut for nearly three months by the time they are allowed to reopen on June 15.

However, despite shops planning to reopen safely by adhering to social distancing guidelines, many people say they will not be returning to the town centre for some time.

Nicola Delaney, believes that people are only going to go out for things they know they want or need, adding that “browsing is just not going to happen” for a while.

While Hazel Fulcher added: “I’m in no rush to go out and buy clothes, shoes, books, electronics etc – that people have touched or tried on.

“People couldn’t control themselves or follow rules when McDonald’s and Burger King opened or stay off the beaches when the sun came out. Can’t see how they’re going to control the amount of people that go into the town.”

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Others have raised concerns over long queues, with Tabitha Chesca saying she “may as well shop online” with the one way systems set to be put in place.

More: Ipswich road layouts could change under new town centre social distancing measures

Meanwhile, Robert Edge said he is “totally converted to online shopping” and Marie Hutchinson said there is “not a chance” she will be going back to the high street.

“I will be sticking to online shopping for a while as we can get everything we want, far more safely,” she added.

However, some people have pledged their support for the town’s independent businesses, saying they will be visiting the popular St Peter’s Street when allowed to do so.

Sarah Clark said: “I’ll be supporting local businesses where I can. If we don’t use them, we’ll lose them and become even more of an identikit town.”

Lisa Kaine added: “I’ll definitely be going to high street shops, I can’t wait. I’ve had enough time shut indoors.”

Delly Marie Haseldine said she is looking forward to being able to visit Miss Quirky Kicks for American treats, Dial Lane Books and Central City Comics – as she has missed these independent shops in lockdown.

In a recent survey, which was carried out by this newspaper, people said their shopping habits will be impacted heavily by Covid-19.

Survey results: How your shopping habits may change after coronavirus pandemic

More than half are expecting to change the way they shop – with 25% expecting to use local shops more, almost 10% expect to do more shopping online and 12% expect to use their local towns more.

Trish Clarke said: “I want to support our small businesses and local peoples jobs.”

While, Alan Rayner added: “Independent retailers will need people to come back to their shops. We are still having to pay all our bills etc.”

Yesterday, Paul Clement, Ipswich Central chief executive, warned that half of the business space in town centres may not reopen to customers after the end of lockdown.

He said: “We are coming down from the height of the crisis and that is why the government is looking at reopening some sectors, but it is likely to be a very bumpy landing. We have been saying for years that town centres like Ipswich are going to have to change – this will accelerate that change.”

Overall the amount of space occupied by existing businesses in the town centre could fall by 50%. Mr Clement said: “Some premises will get smaller, some might simply not reopen at the end of lockdown. This is going to have a major impact on the town centre.”

Will you be supporting Ipswich’s independent businesses? Let us know which shops you are looking forward to visiting come June 15.

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