Life in local lockdown: Lancashire retailers share their experiences

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Blackburn and Burnley have been hit hard with local lockdowns Photo: iStock

The national UK lockdown has undeniably impacted the convenience store world like no other but now there is a new dreaded ruling – local lockdowns.

Lancashire has been hit hard by coronavirus outbreaks in particular, with Blackburn with Darwen recording 1,855 cases on 1st September, a total of 1,239 per 100,000 testing positive.

Burnley has also been one of the many towns part of the tighter restrictions introduced on Sunday, 22nd August, with 628 current cases, with around 706 per 100,000 people being infected.

From today (2nd September), the government introduced new social distancing measures were introduced to these areas to reduces further spikes.

So how have local c-stores been handling life in lockdown once again over the past two weeks? Asian Trader spoke with three people who shared their thoughts and experiences on battling through a predictable time:

Kimberley – staff member at Bargain Booze Plus on Burnley Road, Burnley for 15 months

Bargain Booze Plus in Burnley

“It’s been busier everyone throughout the second lockdown though has still being buying normally Crates of beer has been the bestseller but would say the atmosphere is more tense.

“I’ve not been surprised there’s been a second lockdown, it shouldn’t have been lifted from the original lockdown back in March, and that should have been introduced much sooner.

“Customers haven’t been complying with social distancing rules, only about a quarter of people have been wearing PPE in store.

“It makes me feeling uneased a bit we have our protection screens up by the tills, I’ve told them that’s their decision of running the risk of catching it, we can’t actually enforce to in the shop.

“A week and a half ago we experienced a shoplift crime, somebody came into our store with their face covered with a mask, picked up a crate of beer and ran out. You couldn’t do nothing about it as you can’t see their face on CCTV.

“It’s been more of a hit and miss based on the weather, when its nice we get more people coming but if its raining then you don’t see anybody.
“We had to have a restriction of how many people coming store with so many people queuing outside.

“I do think there will be a second lockdown before the end of the year.”

Mr Seedat, owner of Seedat’s Newsagents, on Stansfeld Street, Blackburn for 25 years

“It’s gone quite quiet because the residents got a letter this week about the lockdown about not being allowed to go and meet people beyond their household. The shop is completely quiet, especially this week with the kids going back to school this week.

“It was more quieter this bank holiday compared to last year, this local lockdown has been much more effective compared to the national lockdown. The most popular items peoplesold has been milk and bread.

“I was surprised there was another lockdown as we never heard of any major incidents in Blackburn. I come under the centre of Blackburn. My area should cover the town centre, if they class me as within the lockdown area, the town should be aswell.

“I am very concerned because normally I would take over £1,000 just in gas and electricity top offs besides my shop takings which have now gone down to almost half. Most people are buying their top offs online.

“My rental payment for a payment terminal, I’ve got to find more ways to find bring in money to pay for the terminal just to have the service in the shop. My commission would be cut drastically.

“I am going through a rough patch at the moment as my wife is currently in hospital, we are a husband and wife team and I can’t afford to take on someone else where I don’t have the money to pay them to even help deliver goods to people.

“No crime because the council are implementing only two people in stores which is better for me to keep an eye on them.

“People are complying with social distancing in store but not wearing a face mask. As soon as they come in they apologise saying they have forgot to bring one despite the notice is outside the shop saying to wear one.

“However I can’t turn them away as I won’t be making money and be losing sale. Its up to the police and council to fine them.

“I hope there is not another national lockdown as it will be very difficult for corner shops and newsagents like us, we are struggling now.

“This period has been very difficult.”

Mohammed Patel – manager of Ewood News on Bolton Road, Blackburn for 11 years

Ewood Newsagents in Blackburn

“We are more based towards Darwin, the rate has been quiet low, its more towards the town centre, bout three miles away,
“Things have been ok overall. The social distancing measures still in place our store. There hasn’t been a surge of people panic buying compared to the first time.
“I am surprised and not surprised with pubs and restaurants reopening you kind of expect it.
“We have started doing a home delivery service to compensate to elderly customers not coming out since April.
“We have done well from it, I definitely something we carry on with 100%.”