AS THE country goes into a second lockdown retailers in Fordingbridge say it has come as a blow at a time when trading is expected to increase in the lead up to Christmas.

Businesses have been speaking to the Journal following the announcement that non-essential shops and hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants have to close their doors yesterday. Pubs and restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeaways.

A number of retailers in the town are still offering delivery and click and collect services.

Tim Devane, of Timothy’s in High Street, said: “It is not unexpected to be honest, the figures have been rising throughout the country. Covid is a very serious matter.”

He added: “Closing down is going to be a problem for us all. It’s come at a very bad time of year. I’m one of millions of other people in the same situation.”

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However, Tim says it is “not a level playing field” with larger supermarkets still able to sell non-essential items.

Mr Devane says he would like to see similar measure introduced in Wales.

He added: “We will survive and we’re determined to see this through.”

Dave Tree, of All the Cool Stuff, said: “Critically for this business it is one of the key trading periods.

“You have got to remain upbeat. The best thing I can do is continuously remind people that we are here. We will be able to do deliveries. You will still be able to do your Christmas shopping – it will be a different way of doing your Christmas shopping but you can still do it and do it locally.” added Dave.

Dave Tree said: “My biggest upset really is not so much I’m going back into lockdown but Fordingbridge as a whole has done so well to ride the storm up to this point that this might be what breaks it for some of the businesses because it will be too much for them to go through a second time.”

The Keep the Heart Beating campaign to promote businesses in the town will be continuing.

“The future is bright for Fordingbridge and small retail has a future because it is an experience in itself,” said Dave.

David Calais, of The Fordingbridge Bookshop, said it will still be taking orders over the phone and via email and doing local deliveries during the lockdown.

He said: “It felt like it was coming, there was an inevitability to it but we just didn’t know when," he said. "Hopefully we can have a few days trading in December which would be a bonus and beneficial. We’ll wait and see.”

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“People valuing their local shops is massively important because it does keep us all going,” added David

Businesses have reported a flurry of support with customers coming out to shop before lockdown.

Val Read, of Jessica, said: “To be honest we have got to do it. It is what it is.”

She said it was going to have a “terrible impact” on independents and added: “We felt when we came out of the other lockdown people were shopping with us more and wanting to go to local independent retailers rather than travelling to the big towns.

“Though our takings have been down because of the earlier lockdown it was encouraging but now it is just before Christmas it has knocked us for six.”

She praised the support from the government and the furlough scheme.

“I don’t know what is going to happen. If it goes on after Christmas a lot of businesses could close to be honest,” said Val. “Everybody has got to stay positive and try and work together and hopefully we will come out the other side.”

Sian Currie, of Luxury Bubble, said the first lockdown had allowed her to take the business online and it would be offering collections and deliveries.

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“This is the time of year you expect to have a surge in orders it is Christmas. We should be seeing that. That really is what the killer is about this lockdown. It comes when the last two months of the year for a lot of boutiques like mine will make 75 per cent of their revenue in the last few months of the year. To have a lockdown is devastating for lots of small shops,” she said.

“It is an emotional time for everyone in many different ways. We will survive this but it is really hard work. If you can help a little shop, a restaurant, a pub, hairdressers try and help them.When they are gone they are gone.”