Christmas plans on hold as second lockdown starts
Businesses in Alsager are already looking ahead to what trade will be like when their doors reopen after the four-week lockdown, which began today. (Thursday).
Having spent money to make their premises covid-safe after reopening in July following the first lockdown, local businesses have now been forced to close their doors in the run up to their busiest time of year and are unable to plan for the festive season.
Some traders believed it was "unfair" they had to close when they had followed the regulations about reducing the risk of infection.
Jo Heler, who runs the Male Box barbers on Crewe Road, was still busy cutting hair at 6.30pm on Monday.
Putting the clippers down briefly, she said: "All the stuff we've had to spend on PPE and cleaning products and to do things right and we are still getting penalised.
"The kids at universities and schools are spreading the coronavirus like wildfire yet I've had no comeback through test and trace. It's very frustrating.
Ms Heler, who runs the Male Box with Kerry Winteringham, added: "I think the lockdown will go on for longer. Last time they said it would just be for a few weeks and kept extending it. The Government just keeps moving the goalposts."
"I would say 95% of my customers are all saying the same as me - we need to get on with it, be careful, all try and help each other and try to learn to live with it.
"Even a lot of the old boys are saying the same thing, which surprised me. They were scared to death of it earlier in the year."
Ms Heler said costs had increased since the first lockdown.
"Even the product I sterilise the combs in. At first it was £19 a bottle and now it has gone up to £50."
The Ey Up Duck bar/café on Crewe Road recently reopened having shut for 10 days after a period of self-isolation for staff.
It will be serving takeaways during the lockdown, which will include its popular themed menus and will also be delivering meals to the vulnerable.
David Glendinning, who runs Ey Up Duck with wife Elizabeth, said: "Doing the takeaways is better than nothing and it gives us a revenue."
Of the lockdown he added: "There's nothing we can do about it. If the Government planned the lockdown to make sure we can have a Christmas of sorts that's fine.
“But we cannot physically plan and say what we are doing over Christmas at Ey Up Duck as we are in limbo until we know what tier we will be in following the lockdown."
Chris Charlesworth, landlord at The Mere, on Crewe Road, said that the 10pm curfew for pubs had killed a lot of trade.
He explained that The Mere was no longer serving food as the tables were taken up by people who were coming in for drinks.
Mr Charlesworth added: "During the first lockdown people could come and collect and fill up their own bottles with beer after pre-ordering, but we can't even do that during this lockdown.
He added that not knowing what may happen after the lockdown is lifted on Wednesday, 2nd December "was definitely the problem".
He said: "It is difficult. I've been through every emotion possible from despondency to anger but I'm still optimistic. Hopefully by taking a hard line now we will be able to trade to some degree over the festive period."
Mr Charlesworth had spent more than £6,000 on equipment so that customers could drink outside.
He said: "I had ordered a bespoke awning along with outdoor heaters but because of demand I am still waiting for the awning to arrive. Hopefully it will come by the end of lockdown."
Alsager Community Support Centre, which helped people at home during the first lockdown with food deliveries and other services, is ready to step in again.
Manager Liz Pinkney said: "We are still waiting for guidance to see if we can keep the community support centre open, but all the services we do over the phone will continue.
"Our volunteer services to help people with their shopping remain in place so we can step in straight away to provide support and can offer support for people who feel lonely."
For help from Alsager Community Support Centre phone 01270 876605, email email@example.com or visit the website at www.alsagercommunitysupport.org.uk