Lewes dry cleaners prepares for new national Covid restrictions this Christmas

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed over the weekend it was now mandatory for people to wear facemasks in shops and on public transport, in the wake of the Omicron virus variant.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 3:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 3:14 pm

A Sussex dry cleaners is bracing itself for an uncertain future as the new Covid restrictions come into action from today.

For Footfall at Goldfinch's – a long-established independent dry cleaners in Lewes –trade has already started to fall, just days after an increase in coronavirus cases was reported in the county.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed over the weekend it was now mandatory for people to wear facemasks in shops and on public transport, in the wake of the Omicron virus variant.

Like many shopkeepers, Goldfinch's owners had hoped that, with the easing of restrictions in the summer, things could get back to normal but the weekend's announcement of new measures they are now bracing themselves

The shop's co-director, Laura Hughes, said: "Already we are hearing from customers that they are not keen to venture into town to see us and, although we've increase our collection and delivery service, our takings have been affected by the renewed fear from the virus."

The pandemic forced many businesses, including family-run Goldfinch's to start a home-delivery service, and it's proved very popular as fellow director, Alan Wood explains: "We began just by serving customers in Lewes and then, as the lockdown continued last year, extended our service to Ringmer and, gradually, to more and more outlying villages.

Today we go as far as Rottingdean and Saltdean in the west, to Newick and Ditchling in the north, and over to Hailsham and Pevensey in the east and everyone is very pleased to see us as it saves them travelling into Lewes."

Like many shopkeepers, Goldfinch's owners had hoped that, with the easing of restrictions in the summer, things could get back to normal but the weekend's announcement of new measures they are now bracing themselves.

Laura said: "We all believed, as we were told, that the Roadmap to recovery was truly irreversible and that trading conditions would improve.

"But just two reported cases of the new variant and we are on the verge of new restrictions which are going to impact severely on independent traders such as ourselves, and on our staff who now face an uncertain Christmas given the Prime Minister's latest announcement. The future is looking bleak once again."

READ MORE: