'Sense of vibrancy' as coast reports busy week after lockdown eases
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Shops and restaurants on the east Suffolk coast are feeling "really positive" about their recovery from the Covid lockdown after the first week of eased restrictions.
As part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, non-essential retailers, pubs, restaurants and hair salons were permitted to reopen for the first time in months last Monday.
Holiday lets on the coast reported a surge in bookings ahead of the reopening as many tourists embraced a 'staycation', with foreign travel likely to be restricted for most of the year.
Businesses in east Suffolk, many of which rely on tourism trade, have benefitted from high levels of footfall in resorts over the last seven days.
Helen Greengrass, change director of Felixstowe Forward, urged people to support independent traders as they bid to recover from the lockdown.
She said: "It has been fairly measured. The town was very busy when we reopened.
"There has been a cautious return to the town centre. The shops are feeling delighted to be back open - they were very busy.
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"It was probably a touch quieter than it was before lockdown, but people are optimistic.
"Certainly, there is a sense of vibrancy and joy. There's a hope that this is now behind us.
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"Our message to everyone would be to get back and support your independent shops and restaurants."
Southwold town development manager Hannah Wright said: "It was super busy - everyone was so excited to be open. All the businesses, even the national chains, were really happy to be back at work.
"There was definitely a lot of footfall. I think everyone just wanted to get out.
"All the holiday lets were pretty much full and we had families around.
"The businesses are feeling really positive. They are doing all they can to keep customers safe."
Susie Medland, who manages the Munchies cafe in Aldeburgh's High Street, said fellow business owners had a strong first week back.
She said: "Aldeburgh was buzzing at the weekend - it was insane. The beach was rammed.
"Today the high street is peaceful, but the kids have gone back to school.
"I think everyone is really happy to be open. There's an upbeat mood."