Alnwick traders braced for Covid restrictions

Alnwick traders fear Covid restrictions are coming in the new year.

Thursday, 30th December 2021, 9:00 am
Alnwick traders have been giving their thoughts on possible new Covid restrictions.
Alnwick traders have been giving their thoughts on possible new Covid restrictions.

The Government has not revealed what plans it has to stem the growing number of Covid cases as the Omicron variant takes hold.

But shopkeepers, salon owners and publicans think more measures are likely following the festive period.

Jake Castleman, owner of The Pig in Muck in Alnwick and The Cock and Bull in Amble, is expecting there to be an announcement of some kind which will impact on hospitality.

Marie McArdle from The Cheese Room.

“It’s a quiet time of the year for us so I was planning on having a break in any case, regardless of what the Covid rules are,” he revealed. “But I would hope a financial package will be put in place to support these businesses through the winter.”

Autumn Rabbitts, owner of recently opened Sweet Solstice on Bondgate Within, said: “I fear it will mean we’re only able to serve customers outside which is obviously a real nightmare at this time of year but I’m going to set up a click and collect service from the front door.

"I’ve got mixed feelings about the whole thing,” she continued. “We’ve had the vaccine in the hope we wouldn’t have to go through another lockdown but then you see case rates going up so you’re just hoping the Omicron variant doesn’t lead to increased hospitalisations.

"As a new business we haven’t been through this before so we’ll just have to wait and see. I do feel the Government is just trying to keep the public on board by not locking down until the new year.”

Jorja Marchant from The Bonny Hoose Company.

Jorja Marchant from The Bonny Hoose Company on Market Street said: “We can continue with online orders and deliveries for the shop so the big issue we have if there’s a lockdown is the hair salon.

"Last time around there was such a massive backlog of clients to catch up with – and, of course, they were all desperate to get their hair done as quickly as possible. We hope it won’t be like that this time.”

Marie McArdle from The Cheese Room on Paikes Street, said: “We’re usually quiet in January and February but, of course, we don’t want more restrictions to happen.

"We’ve been through this before though and we’ve had to throw out thousands of pounds worth of cheese.

Mel Lloyd from House of Elite.

"But if it’s something we’ve got to do to keep people safe then so be it.

"I almost died of Covid last Christmas and I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through that.

"I think the Prime Minister has tried to keep Christmas and the new year on which people appreciate.

"I’ve never had such a good pre-Christmas trade in the five years I’ve been here so that might help me get through whatever lies ahead.”

Jake Castleman.

Mel Lloyd from House of Elite beauty salon on Market Square is hoping no more restrictions will be imposed.

"I personally don’t think we’re going to get another lockdown,” she said. “I certainly think there are a lot of businesses which could not survive it.

"I think we have to manage the virus as best we can and I do think the government has used it to distract people from what else has been going on.”

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Autumn Rabbitts of Sweet Solstice.