Queues form as 'non-essential' shops across Suffolk reopen after lockdown
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Queues formed outside Primark in Ipswich as 'non-essential' shops across Suffolk reopen their doors after a month-long lockdown.
The stores which were closed for a month under the second national lockdown are now gearing up for what they hope will be a bumper Christmas shopping period under the new Tier 2 restrictions.
In Bury St Edmunds town leaders are expecting a good turnout in the run up to the festive season.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds which manages the town's Business Improvement District (BID), said: "We anticipate the town will be busier as people do more of their Christmas preparations but I am confident that all the safety measures that have been taken will ensure shoppers are kept as safe as possible providing they all remember the hands, face, space advice too.
"The measures in place to keep people safe would appear to be working well from the latest Covid figures with the number of cases in West Suffolk currently around half what it was a week ago and the rate per 100,000 people in this area is one of the lowest in the country – lower than Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which are in Tier 1.
"It’s very encouraging that people are clearly taking so much care to prevent the spread of the virus and I am sure they will continue that responsible attitude when out and about."
To help attract shoppers to the town free parking is available from 3pm on Tuesdays and some shops will also be open until 7pm on Tuesdays.
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"I’d advise anyone coming in to visit a specific business to check if they have any special or later opening hours too," he said.
Meanwhile Ipswich Central, the town's BID, said it would be working to promote local shops and businesses in the run up to Christmas.
According to Terry Baxter, BID chairman, the next 16 days and keeping the Covid-19 case rate down as shops reopen could be key to having Covid-19 loosened further.
He said: "Suffolk marginally missed out from a Tier 1 rating, therefore we are urging businesses and the general public to unite to work together and do everything possible to get to the top spot.
"The resilience and determination by local businesses to adapt and continue to operate under such difficult circumstances has been outstanding.
"Over the next 16 days we will be sharing local business updates and stories on our social media channels, showing that together we can all play a part in staying safe, working safe and supporting the local economy."