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The South Yorkshire traders lost in a winter coronavirus lockdown

Written by on 05/11/2020

It’s a day no one wanted but everyone anticipated.

Bonfire Night will take on a very different meaning this year as the country adjusts itself to another national lockdown with many businesses forced to shut up shop for four weeks in the run up to Christmas.

It was a devastating announcement and a hammer blow for independent retailers who have struggled enough already this year and for South Yorkshire it has been a turbulent few weeks.

After the three-tiered system was introduced, the county was placed into Tier 2 but this was soon upgraded with South Yorkshire plunged into the strictest Tier 3 level on Saturday, October 24.

Little did they know that just a week later, their efforts to adjust to Tier 3 would prove fruitless with Boris Johnson announcing a nationwide lockdown on October 31.

While the multinational chains will suffer in the second lockdown, it’s our independent traders, retailers and business owners who will be hit hardest by the four-week shutdown.

Their livelihoods are at stake and with little support currently out there to get them through this turbulent period after the rockiest of years, they will be hoping and praying that customers come flooding back in December when the virus is more under control.

Here are the stories of the South Yorkshire people lost in lockdown with no choice but to make drastic changes to stay open or close their businesses for good over the course of November.

‘If lockdown lasts the whole winter it will kill us completely’

Dianne Green said her business will not survive a winter-long lockdown
(Image: Dicks Board Store)

Dianne Green has spent the last 30 years “tirelessly” getting her ski and snowboard business up and running.

She owns Dicks Board Store on Infirmary Road, Sheffield, and said it will not survive a winter-long lockdown.

Dianne said: “Our business is winter-oriented, our busiest time, so to be locked down in November…we’ll lose thousands of pounds.

Follow live updates on the first day of the second lockdown here

“And people won’t be able to go skiing anyway, so it’s a nightmare for us really. But it is what it is and hopefully we’ll be able to have some help, but I don’t know how we’ll ever recoup what we’re going to lose over the next five weeks.

“We did think initially that people would still be able to come in and buy kit for the year after, but I don’t think people can even go skiing at the minute so it’s all a bit up in the air.

“We’re just sitting tight and hoping that after this lockdown something might change, but we’ve been saying this since the last one. If it’s the whole winter then it would kill us completely.”

‘It’s very difficult to survive just on takeaways’

Liam Ridge (right) owns Butcher and Catch in Broomhill, Sheffield with business partner Adam Pearce
(Image: Butcher and Catch (Facebook))

Liam Ridge, who owns Butcher & Catch in Broomhill, Sheffield, said he expects his business to do a lot of takeaways over the next month, as they were popular during the last lockdown.

Diners rushed in to get one last bite to eat before Thursday’s lockdown but Liam admits that although his business can stay open, it will be difficult to survive just on takeaways.

He said: “There’s not a huge amount of financial support in this lockdown so it’s forcing a lot of businesses to have a go of it and we introduced takeaway just at the end of the first lockdown so we’re already in a position to offer that.

“We are expecting to do quite a lot of takeaways, obviously it’s very difficult to survive just on takeaways but hopefully we manage to squeeze through.”

‘We may not have our livelihood much longer’

Jade Billard, who runs The New Anglers pub, in Sheffield, admits with no income it will be hard for her business to survive.

She lives above the pub with her family and is worried she may not have her livelihood for much longer.

Jade said: “To hear of the tier system first was a huge blow for us as we are a wet lead local council estate pub that doesn’t serve food.

“Once we knew that we would have to close it was a devastating blow we obviously had no income and would still have to pay the basic things like rent, electricity and heating.

“It’s a very worrying time so to then also hear of a second lockdown until December 2 at the earliest before going back to tiers was very nerve-racking. For us as a business, because we are a family-run pub that doesn’t have outside breweries backing us.

“Whatever money is there or not – it’s down to us. I have two boys whose birthdays are in November and then Christmas is coming up so it’s scary to think that if it carries on for months like before we may not have our livelihood much longer as it’s crushing the small businesses.

“We completely understand that it is needed to make sure that everyone is safe but with winter weather here it’s getting colder and I don’t see it getting any better any time soon.

“It’s scary, not only for us as a business but for us as a community pub. We have everyone from the age of one to a 92-year-old gentleman who comes in and I don’t want any of my customers to fall victim to this awful virus.”

‘People will presume we are shut’

Robyn and Fraser Hodges, owners of Albie’s in Sheffield

Robyn Hodges, 27, owns Albie’s coffee shop in Snig Hill, Sheffield, and says that it is “exhausting” trying to keep up with all the new rules.

She has been running the specialist coffee shop with her brother Fraser since July 2018.

She said: “It’s really hard because part of me is trying to be positive that we have no choice but to close so we shall just make it work.

“I just feel lucky that we are able to keep going in some way.

“It has been a really difficult time. After reopening it has been impossible to predict how many staff we need on and getting orders from our suppliers.

“Our supply chain had to throw out so much food after the last lockdown so now we can’t get the things we used to, so it has made it extremely challenging.

“It was really hard to hear the news of another lockdown that late on a Saturday evening.

“Now we have to deal with people who presume we will be closing, when in fact we are going to stay open for a takeaway service.

“It has just been difficult and it will be for a while.”

‘Christmas is fundamental to so many retailers’

Lucy Ashton is scared of the impact that another lockdown will have
(Image: The Dandelion Clock)

Lucy Ashton, 48, has owned her flower shop, The Dandelion Clock, in Fulwood, Sheffield for 10 years.

She has been pushing her website as much as possible lately to help her get through the lockdown, but said that others will not be so lucky.

Lucy said: “The supermarkets will do very well out of this, anyone who hasn’t got an online presence I can’t see how they’re going to get through this at all, it’s not going to be easy.

“Christmas is so fundamental to so many retailers and, assuming we come out of lockdown on December 2, I will have three weekends to trade before Christmas which is, frankly, terrifying.

The Best in Yorkshire Awards

Nominations are now open for the Best in Yorkshire Awards 2020 and we’d love you to tell us your favourite things about our region

The awards want to give a big pat on the back to those people and places which make our food and drink scene, as well as lifestyle events, something which is envied all over the country.

Categories

These are all the categories in the Best in Yorkshire Awards 2020:

  • Best Pub
  • Best Bar
  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Food Joint
  • Best Takeaway
  • Best Chippy
  • Best Place for Breakfast
  • Best Sunday Lunch
  • Best Family Day Out
  • Yorkshire’s Most Yorkshire Venue

How to make a nomination

The public or those who work in Yorkshire’s hospitality industry are welcome to put forward nominations.

The deadline for nominations is midnight on Sunday, November 8. We’ll then reveal each category shortlist which we’ll put to a public vote to decide the winners.

Those who nominate will also be entered into a great competition which will see a £1,000 prize split between 10 lucky people. The competition winners will each win the prize of £100 to spend at any of our Best in Yorkshire Awards 2020 winners.

To ensure you are entered into the competition you have to make a nomination to our Best in Yorkshire Awards and sign up to our Yorkshire Live What’s On newsletter – you can sign up to the What’s On newsletter here.

You can make a nomination for the awards here.

“Another part of my business is classes and I have a big space in my shop for wreath-making, I’ll be able to do those online but it takes away the occasion that people enjoy about coming to the shop.

“This is the eleventh Christmas that I’ll have done in my shop, it’s part of people’s tradition and to not be able to offer that is just another chunk of joy that is being chipped away.”

‘Turnover is already down at least 50 per cent’

Kieron Hunt

Kieron Hunt runs a shoe stall in Cheapside, Barnsley.

He spoke to South Yorkshire Live last week about the impact of ‘Tier 3’ coronavirus restrictions and admitted they had been immediate and devastating.

He said turnover was down “at least 50 per cent” because people thought the market stalls were shut.

Now, they will have to shut by law on Thursday and they will be hoping and praying they can survive the next few weeks before returning at the start of December ahead of Christmas.

“I think people have been scared to death; Barnsley has a high infection rate if you believe the figures.

“Last week a lot of people seemed to think we would be closed down, which obviously isn’t the case.”