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Spalding town centre is open again for shopping after easing of lockdown




The wheels of retail business are turning again in Spalding as shoppers returned to the town centre to browse and spend.

Fashion, footwear, carpets, collectables and jewellery were all available again for customers to see with their own eyes, rather than online, as traders reopened their doors in their town.

But the signs of a new coronavirus world were very evident, with hand sanitisers, social distancing stickers, one-way systems, screens around tills and some shops requiring staff to wear personal protective equipment.

South Holland District Council's map of Spalding town centre and the new, one-way system now in place.Photo supplied.
South Holland District Council's map of Spalding town centre and the new, one-way system now in place.Photo supplied.

Kate Robb, owner of Gibbs Shoes in Hall Place, said: "We're trying to work with the customers as safely as we can.

"But because we're in close contact with them, we have to put some protective gear on.

"There are lots of arrows on the floor to show people wear to walk, hand sanitisers at the door and shorter opening times for the first fortnight because we only have a small team of staff.

"Hopefully, people are pleased that we're open and still carrying on, while they can go out and have a bit of interaction with people."

Andrew Inkley, of J.F. Inkley Menswear, in Vine Street, said: "We're glad to be back to normal and the customers are just pleased to be out and able to come into the shop again."

Sandra Liegaudiene, of D & S Fashion in The Crescent, said: "It's good to be open again, much better than to be at home.

"We can come back and meet people eye to eye which is much easier than doing it online.

D & S Fashion, in The Crescent, was one of many independent shops in Spalding to reopen on Monday.Photo by Beth Barkway. (36681739)
D & S Fashion, in The Crescent, was one of many independent shops in Spalding to reopen on Monday.Photo by Beth Barkway. (36681739)

"All the signs are up telling people to keep two metres away from each other, we have a one-way system in the shop, a screen up on the counter and a mask if I need it.

"I hope things will go well and that people won't be scared to come back into the shops."

Steve Mason, of Mason's Models in New Road, said: "We had a steady stream of customers and, hopefully, things will improve.

"It's been quite hard not being open and it would have been nice if we could have traded for short periods of time because a lot of my customers have been frustrated that they haven't been able to get stuff.

"But the trouble is that everybody has been buying online so are they going to come back to the high street?

As well as the shops themselves, a one-way system is also in operation throughout the town centre and marshals from South Holland District Council were out in numbers to help people navigate the system.

Carol Usher, of Haverfield Road, said: "The one-way system is fine and it's been working well for us.

"This was the first time I've been in the town centre for a while and the marshals were very helpful.

"But I'm very wary because some people don't follow the signs and they come close to you."

"You think you're doing your best, but it's the other people who don't.

"It'll be nice when everything is open again but I fear it's going to be a long time before that happens."

Other traders to open included Susan Stubley, of Occasions Jewellers, in Bridge Street, who said: "I'm pleased to be back, I just hope that people will come back because online shopping seems to have gotten a grip."

Joanne Holmes, of Wrights Flooring and Carpets, in The Crescent, said: "People can still browse and look at the samples, but we're asking people to put gloves on.

"So far, we've been really pleased with the response of people contacting us and we've had lots of enquiries by email."

Karen Scotney, of The Candy Bar, in The Crescent, said: "I'm very pleased to be back, but it's going to be very slow to start with and we'll not get back to normal pretty quickly."



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