Business owners in Bognor Regis say they have been coping well with the introduction of new Covid-19 regulations this week – but there are concerns about what might happen if these are just the first steps towards a new lockdown.
“‘I’m really hoping we don’t go into lockdown again. I’m not sure I can bear it,” said Louise Arram, owner of Vintage By LouLou, in Norfolk Street.
“I can sell online and be okay but of course if nobody’s going anywhere, nobody’s going to want to buy anything.”
Among other things, the new restrictions mandate the use of face masks in shops, hairdressers, public transport and other indoor venues, with the notable exceptions of eateries and gyms. Residents have also been asked to work from home where possible, which might mean reduced footfall in the town centre and less trade for vulnerable local businesses.
Introduced in an attempt to stop the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, many business owners were surprised to say the regulations were yet to affect their day to day trade.
“It’s not really affected us,” Mrs Arram said. “Everybody who’s come in has been absolutely fine with it.”
“It hasn’t made much difference to the shop,” added Katie Chadwick, owner of Katie and Faith’s on London Road. “It’s not affected our trade that much but they’ve only just come into play. So maybe I won’t be as busy over the next few weeks as I have been.”
Rather than the regulations themselves, businesses are more concerned about what they might lead to.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we went into another lockdown but I don’t think that would have a very good impact on tiny businesses like mine. I don’t really know what would happen in that case, to be honest. It’s a bit worrying,” Miss Chadwick said.
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