‘It went a bit mad’ - seaside shoppers race to beat lockdown in town centre
- Credit: Archant
Shoppers have been making the most of the last few days before lockdown hunting down essential items, gifts, and festive greetings cards.
Helped by blue skies and warm temperatures Great Yarmouth’s Market Place was a hub of activity with many people buying presents while they could.
Boris Johnson announced a month-long national lockdown at the weekend meaning Christmas shopping has been instantly bought forward for those looking to avoid a December rush.
At Sentiments card shop in the Market Place it meant a busy morning in an era when sending a greeting by post looks set to be more important than ever.
“It went a bit mad,” said owner Richard Burton.
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“Everyone is a bit worried about if they can get their cards in.
“I am hoping that even during lockdown we might be able to leave a telephone number in the window for people to contact us to arrange collection and delivery.
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“I cannot guarantee it will work.
“It is one of the worst times for us to close. The uncertaintly makes it very difficult for everyone.
“Hopefully it will do the trick and we will all have a nice Christmas.
Mr Burton who runs the shop with his wife Primrose said as well as Christmas cards people were also thinking ahead to birthdays and anniversaries and stocking up for the months ahead.
Quality Books on the six day market said sales there had also been briefly lifted by the lockdown.
Heather Jenner said for a November Monday business had been brisk with several people saying they were stocking up to stay at home.
Of the lockdown she said: “If it’s got to be done November is fine - as long as we are back open in December.
“It that’s what the Government thinks is right then I am happy to stay with it.”
Among those making a special trip into Yarmouth to visit non-essential shops before they closed and everyone was shut away was David Stone.
The 79-year-old of Palgrave Road said he and his wife were out buying presents as well as essentials on what would probably be their last day out of the house until December 2.
Having shielded for months they did not welcome the prospect of being shut away again and did not support the lockdown, he said.
With many shops already closing permanently in the town centre he said he was also worried about what sort of town centre they would be returning to once the lockdown was lifted.
Meanwhile Wendy Lindsay, 74, from Lowestoft, said she usually shopped in Yarmouth two or three times a week.
She had made the trip on Monday for groceries and gift cards for family members she would not be meeting up with this Christmas and were scattered across the country.
“I will miss coming to Yarmouth,” she said, “I am getting some bits for Christmas because you cannot guarantee what’s going to happen. All you can do is buy gift cards and hope the shops are still there when this is over.”
At Market Gates centre manager Nick Spencer said they were preparing for Thursday’s lockdown and that on Monday the centre was noticeably busier.
At The Flower Shop, just inside its front entrance, all prices had been slashed by 25pc to try and shift stock before they closed.
Although they could keep the plants alive for a month, if they were to reopen in December as planned they would need new seasonal stock, Lauren Holmes said.
Beyond the town centre Gapton Hall was also reportedly busy and large queues were spotted at B&Q and Argos in Pasteur Road.