Delay to planned Freedom Day a 'nightmare' for coastal businesses

The centre of Great Yarmouth resembled a ghost town on the hottest day of the year as its market pla

The likely lockdown extension is a setback for business and charity owners around Great Yarmouth which had booked events for the month after June 21. - Credit: Archant

The delay of lockdown easing in England will have a "massive ripple effect" on small businesses on the coast, it has been claimed.

Boris Johnson announced on Monday evening that restrictions currently in place will not ease on June 21 - and will instead remain for up to another month until July 19. 

The news has been a setback for business and charity owners around Great Yarmouth which had booked events for that four-week window.

Victor Ling, 47, a photographer based in Victoria Arcade, was expecting to cover five large gatherings including an indoor family photo shoot, a black-tie event, and two prom nights.

"It's very frustrating but it's totally understandable," he said.


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"My parents live in Bedford, and we've put off going there because the Indian variant is quite rife over there.

Victor Ling, Great Yarmouth

Victor Ling, 47, a photographer based in Victoria Arcade, was expecting to cover five events in the four weeks after June 21. - Credit: Victor Ling

"My turnover has dropped by 70pc over the last 18 months. I was working at Asda, and I've just finished working for the census, which was a temporary contract.

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"There are loads of small businesses which are being massively effected," he added.

"It's the time to start working again, the sun is out, Yarmouth-based businesses are always more cheerful in the sunshine, because you have lots of people here, there are events happening, it's great, but now the uncertainty is here again."

Spencer McCormack, 51, normally organises an annual dinner for veterans from the Household Cavalry, with this year's event booked for 135 people on July 3 at the Masonic Lodge.

"We had to cancel it last year but I'm expecting to cancel it again and put it off until 2022.

"Five of us live in Norfolk. The rest live elsewhere. I'm now getting bombarded by texts. It's an absolute nightmare."

He was hoping to raise at least £3,000 for the charity East Coast Veterans at the dinner. 

Mr McCormack also mentioned the "massive ripple effect" of cancellations, as guests who had expected to attend the dinner would now cancel B&B bookings in Great Yarmouth.

He had also booked a trumpeter and a charity casino company.

Carla Grand

Carla Grand, 36, who lives in Bradwell, has been working day and night during lockdown, homeschooling her two sons and making personalised gifts. - Credit: Carla Grand

Bradwell-based Carla Grand, who runs a face-painting business, said: "I've had to find work elsewhere. I've had a year and a half of no face-painting."

Last year she had taken bookings for a string of events including birthdays and music festivals like Latitude, but the first lockdown meant she had to return the deposits which put her in debt.

"This time I didn't take any deposits. It's a shame because face-painting is what I love to do," she said.

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