'Fingers crossed' - Hopes high for busy summer in Yarmouth
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Hopes are high along one of Great Yarmouth's main tourist thoroughfares for a busy summer season.
As the country emerges from more than a year of lockdowns, but uncertainty still looms over prospects for international travel, a surge of staycations could send throngs of holidaymakers along Regent Road.
The street, flowing from Market Gates to the seafront and flanked by shops trading in holiday fare, presents a different picture from the empty premises and boarded up windows of many high streets.
Alan Pitt, who runs The Bag Shop, said: ""There's just one empty shop on the whole street."
He has run the shop in its current location for three years, ever since the fire across the road in the old indoor market, where he had traded for five years.
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"Fingers crossed this summer will be busy," he said.
"At the moment, I expect it to be quite busy, because of people taking staycations.
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"My personal feeling is people should stay in this country for the moment. It will help the country. Money generated here will be spent here.
"It's noticeable since restaurants opened up for indoor eating again, there are definitely more people about," he added.
Richard Marks, who runs Woodcrafts, said: "Up to now it's been quiet. It was a case of people not being able to eat in restaurants. This week there has been a few more people around.
"If people can't go abroad, hopefully it will be a busy summer.
"I wouldn't fancy going abroad myself at the moment," he said.
Next door, Paul Walia, who runs T-Shirt King, is optimistic about this year's summer season.
"Next week you won't be able to move here on the street. It'll be the same all summer," he said.
"We only had four months open last year and it was a good year.
"It'll be fine, unless they shut us down again," he added.
Such a prospect, of a fourth lockdown, is what makes Helen Evangelos, manager of the cafe Sweet Creams, more cautious about the future - but she is trying to remain positive.
She has hired a new employee to keep things running smoothly at the cafe this summer.
"I think things are still very slow, at least for me," she said. "But good weather is promised for this weekend, hopefully that'll be the start and things will pick up."