‘It will be a struggle’ - How a Norfolk market town is gearing up for a second lockdown

Our reporter Aaron McMillan asked people in Fakenham if a second lockdown was the right decision. PI

Our reporter Aaron McMillan asked people in Fakenham if a second lockdown was the right decision. PICTURE: Matthew Farmer - Credit: Archant

A sense of injustice and deja vu were the overwhelming feelings in Fakenham as a second lockdown loomed.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the nationwide lockdown on October 31 telling people to stay home from Thursday, November 5, until December 2.

According to Public Health England, between March 15 and October 11, Fakenham only had between zero and two cases each week. However, there has been a small rise to between three and nine cases since October 18.

The Tudor Tea Room on Norwich Street is preparing for another uncertain month of trading.

Colin Johnson, who owns the business with his wife, ran the tea room as a takeaway during the first lockdown. He is not sure they will do the same this time.

Owner of Tudors tea room, Colin Johnson is wondering if enough people will be around to make a takea

Owner of Tudors tea room, Colin Johnson is wondering if enough people will be around to make a takeaway "worthwhile. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant


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“We are wondering whether to open, but will the people be around to make it worthwhile,” he said.

“We will try it, if it doesn’t work then we will close. We would then reopen again hopefully after the lockdown, but it will be a struggle.”

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This lockdown is slightly different to last time, with early year settings, schools and universities staying open.

And people feel that it is harsh on the market town to be subjected to the same measures as areas with much higher cases.

The Tudor Tea Room, on Norwich Street in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan

The Tudor Tea Room, on Norwich Street in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

One person commented: “No I don’t agree, as far as I am aware, there are no cases around here, so why can’t our independent traders carry on trading. Take a little bit of the profits from the four supermarkets.”

While another said: “Can you really call this a lockdown? Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants etc having to close for four weeks but schools, colleges and universities can stay open.”

Gilly Foortse, mayor of Fakenham, praised people for pulling through the first lockdown but has said they must help support businesses in the town.

“My thoughts are particularly with the small businesses which have to close again having worked hard to make their businesses safe. Our small cafes, hairdressers and retailers,” she said.

Fakenham town mayor, Gilly Foortse. Picture: FAKENHAM TOWN COUNCIL

Fakenham town mayor, Gilly Foortse. Picture: FAKENHAM TOWN COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

“We must make sure that when they are able to re-open, we use them as much as we can to help them move on into the future.”

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