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Concerns about impact of rural Post Office closures forced by coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 05:30 27 March 2020

There are concerns over the immediate future of a number of rural post office branches Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/SARAH LUCY BROWN

There are concerns over the immediate future of a number of rural post office branches Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

There are concerns that some rural Suffolk communities could be left without Post Offices because of the coronavirus.

Post Offices were listed by the Government as being an essential shop and were permitted to stay open.

However, some branches in Suffolk are now closed for the forseeable future.

One of those that has struggled in recent weeks is in Southwold.

For now the Post Office there will open for two days a week, for just four hours on Mondays and Wednesday between 10am and 1pm.

READ MORE: Cascade of kindness needed to battle county’s loneliness during coronavirus lockdown

District and town councillor for Southwold David Beavan says he is concerned by the situation and worries that the Post Office could close again.

“Some pensioners get their pension directly,” said Mr Beavan.

“So they would have to get a bus to Lowestoft.”

Mr Beavan said there were also concerns for people claiming benefits and gas keys.

“The post mistress says they want to keep open but they want to protect staff,” said Mr Beavan.

“The Government needs to act.

“Businesses are very confused about what they are to shut or not.”

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A Post Office spokesman said: “The vast majority of Post Offices are open in the UK and Post Offices are designated as an essential retailer by the UK Government.

“However, some Post Offices are temporarily closed due to staffing issues caused by the covid 19 pandemic as there are underlying health concerns or the need to self-isolate .

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by any temporary closure as we know how important Post Offices are to community. Unfortunately several branches in the Southwold area are temporarily closed in these unprecedented times.

“We have had reported closures for Southwold, Walberswick, Wangford, Wenhaston, Blythburgh, Halesworth, Leiston.

“Alternative branches that are open include High Street Kessingland and Aldeburgh. We appreciate that this will result in our customers currently having to travel further than usual.”

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