We're (safely) back in business!
SHOPPERS are gradually returning to Kingswood centre following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Businesses have taken all the necessary steps to ensure safety and from July 24 all customers have been required to wear masks.
Bosses say they are delighted to be back and they have thanked people for supporting local shops and enterprises during the difficult months of the coronavirus pandemic.
While footfall is not yet at pre-Covid levels, the situation is improving each time more businesses are allowed to open.
Kingswood Indoor Market is now fully back open for business on the High Street. Pat Ludwell runs Pots and Lots, and has been back open selling pet food and plants since the first week in May. She told the Voice that she feels like things are starting to get back to normal, and said: “It’s been lovely to be back open, and it was absolutely manic to start with. I had to book a slot at the nursery to collect my plants on a Wednesday, and by the Saturday they had all sold out! People definitely wanted something to do, and runner beans and tomato plants have been really popular.
“People have been really glad to see that I’m back open, and I wear a mask to keep me and my customers safe when serving and also have hand sanitiser available too.
“I’m going into my fourth year of trading now, and I’m not sure that things will be back to how they were for a while. People definitely don’t seem to want to stop and browse as much as they used to, and I think it’s really important to remind local people that if you don’t use your local businesses then you could lose them if they don’t get the footfall.”
John Pickford runs J P Angling, and has been helping with the discount food section of the market during lockdown, after the elderly owners were forced to isolate. He said that customers have been grateful that the section stayed open during lockdown, and commented: “It’s been something familiar for people, and we have hand sanitiser at the till for people to use.
“I’d like to say thank you to all of our customers that have supported us during this time, as without them we wouldn’t still be here.”
A Tardio Shoe Repairs has been open for 31 years. Owner Tony said he is really glad to be back, and that he has also been volunteering as a Kingswood Responder for the Royal Voluntary Service.
“I have been here a long time, and it’s great to be able to have some adult conversations again”, he said. “However, my work is very seasonal, and at the moment it is very quiet for me. I can’t see things getting back to normal for a very long time, and I think it might get even quieter once people are forced to wear face masks. I really hope there isn’t a second wave too, and that social distancing measures will help to prevent this.
“I’d also like to give a mention to all of the Kingswood Responders who have supported the local community during lockdown and made such a difference to so many people.”
Kate Bullock has run Purple Violets Floristry since 2015, and started doing deliveries again at the end of April after reopening.
She said: “I take most of my orders over the phone or online, and do deliveries with my van. I put the bouquet on my customer’s doorstep and step way back until they have answered the door, which counts as contactless delivery. I have hand sanitiser in the van with me and make sure I clean my hands after each delivery too. I wear gloves if I’m going into flats and will also wear these on request if people want me to.
“Feedback from customers so far has been brilliant. When I started back up a lot of people either had been living on their own or self isolating with elderly parents, and so sometimes I would be the only face they would see that day, and it would be nice to have a little chat with them and help cheer them up.
“A lot of people have been sending bouquets for occasions and also to people self isolating to say they are thinking of them and can’t wait to meet up after lockdown. It has been such a strange situation, and has affected everyone in different ways.”
Liam Hudd works as a personal trainer at Maxed Out Fitness and operates from a small studio on Broad Road. He has recently re-opened to clients, stopping all group training and only running appointments on a 1-1 basis, allowing 15 minutes between clients to disinfect the studio.
Commenting on the measures he has put in place, Liam said: “All of the equipment is pre-placed before the start of a session once I’ve sanitised my hands. Clients then ring the doorbell and I step outside to let them in. Once they’re in the studio space I explain what the exercises are (without demonstrations) and I usually supervise from the doorway, which is a good 15m from the end of the studio.
“Once an exercise is completed the client then sanitises the equipment and puts it away to eliminate touching it again after it’s been cleaned. We work our way through the session until there is no equipment left to use. Clients are then asked to sanitise their hands before exiting the gym and I leave the door open whilst I mop and spray everything once more.
“The entrance also has a no seat policy, clients are asked to arrive on time and not early, and they all respect the rules and listen carefully. Clients are appreciative of the methods I use to keep us all safe and always have their questions answered.”