Covid: Second England lockdown 'a devastating blow'

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionRestrictions are due to come into force on Thursday

With another lockdown looming in England, everyone is facing further disruption to their lives and livelihoods.

Pubs, gyms and non-essential shops will close, but schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

The month-long measures are due to come into force on Thursday until 2 December, but may last longer.

BBC News has spoken to people across England about how they will cope with the second lockdown.

Some say they are better prepared, others will continue to diversify their business and several are hoping for more financial support from the government.

'A devastating blow'

image captionRichard Strongman owns a wholesale food business

Food wholesale owner Richard Strongman said the announcement was "a bit of a devastating blow".

Mr Strongman, who is based in Lymington, Hampshire, said: "I think we saw it coming, but [it's] a bit of a body blow for the hospitality industry and in turn that affects us at the wholesaler.

"We depend on hospitality for about 80% of our trade, the other 20% is care homes, hospitals, schools and we need the hospitality trade to help balance the cost base."

He said he welcomes the extension of the furlough scheme, but said it needs to be extended further to give businesses "a fighting chance".

"It's been incredibly hard, when the first lockdown came around, we lost 85% of our trade overnight, we pivoted very quickly to offer a home delivery service which helped a little bit.

"We were just getting back up to speed now and now we've been dealt another side swipe and it's just so hard to plan."

'You build yourself up'

image copyrightIan Arrowsmith
image captionThe couple were due to get married on Friday

Ian Arrowsmith and Gemma Peake, were due to get married on Friday at a registry office in Crewe, having already changed their wedding plans and deciding on a smaller, local ceremony.

Under the new restrictions, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be able to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

"We don't want to have to wait again, you build yourself up to the moment," Mr Arrowsmith said. "We just want to get married."

"It's how they decide, elite sport can continue, schools are open, you can have wakes of up to 30 people, manufacturing and construction are being encouraged to stay open, but no weddings, it seems crazy to me," the sales manager said.

"There are people who have invested more expense, for a lot of people it will be a big emotional struggle."

'If anything a relief'

image captionJon Best is hoping for a Christmas rush

Jon Best, who owns a B&B close to Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, said the announcement had provided some much-needed certainty.

Like many businesses in the area, he was struggling to stay afloat due to a sharp drop in airline passenger numbers.

"It's been dire, we had no customers, but at least with the lockdown we know where we stand," the 54-year-old said. "If anything it was a relief yesterday," he added.

He is hopeful the lockdown will reduce the spread of the virus, allowing people to travel again when restrictions are due to be eased in early-December.

"Let's hope for a Christmas rush," he said. "One good month could clear a lot of debt."

'We're hanging on'

image copyrightFell Brewery
image captionAndrew Carter owns a brewers as well as running two bars in Cumbria

Andrew Carter, co-founder of artisan brewers Fell, in Flookburgh, Cumbria, said they had been preparing for such an announcement, but things were "obviously going to be difficult".

"The main thing is finding out what additional support we'll be getting, until we see that I'm not sure where we are at."

As well as the brewing side, the company runs two bars in Kendal and Penrith.

He said: "Our business model for these relies on late night weekend trade and that's been cut short, and we have also been unable to run music events, so it's been very hard for us to adapt to and absorb that.

"We're hanging on there, but we have been struggling a bit."

Mr Carter said he was concerned about a paragraph in the guidance which said hospitality venues could provide takeaways and delivery services, but "takeaways of alcohol will not be allowed".

"I'm not sure the brewery will survive if we cannot offer a takeout and delivery service - it's how we survived last time."

'A rocky first year'

image copyrightDave Gray
image captionDave Gray will offer a pizza and cocktail delivery service

Dave Gray, owner of Plant vegan restaurant in Sadler Gate, Derby, had been gearing up to celebrate the first anniversary of its opening on 23 November.

"It's definitely been a rocky first year," he said. "I don't think many businesses would have lasted. We've had to be quite flexible and we've got a lot of loyal customers, which has been a massive help.

"We've felt another national lockdown has been inevitable for a while so had already started working on some projects for if it did happen."

Mr Gray said he will start a pizza and cocktail delivery service and will continue to produce a range of gin liqueurs.

"But it's not ideal at all. I'm waiting to see if the government will help out hospitality businesses like last time.

"We only had one month rent free last time around so the hospitality grant only went so far."

'We've done everything we should have'

image copyrightLorraine Arnold
image caption"We've followed the rules," says Lorraine Arnold, who runs Paignton Pier Chippy

Lorraine Arnold, who runs Paignton Pier Chippy, said she was "devastated" at the news of having to close.

"I really thought we'd been so well behaved down here in the south west," she said. "We've followed the rules, we've behaved."

"Everything has gone as it should have and now we've been slapped in the face and here we are, back to square one."

She said she had bought a different business in Torquay in March, which was then unable to open until July.

Mrs Arnold said explained she is due to begin a "seven figure refurbishment" this week, but this was now "all up in the air, in jeopardy".

"We've just got to sit down and work out exactly where we go next."

She added she was not sure it would be viable to keep on all of her 65 staff from the summer, despite the extension of the furlough scheme.

'No great surprise'

image copyrightBoheme Coffee Lounge & Bar
image captionLou Wellman said his main goal is to "take care" of his staff

Lou Wellman co-owns Boheme Coffee Lounge & Bar in Poole, like others he said the second lockdown has come "as no great surprise" saying he "felt better prepared to deal with it this time".

"I think it's preferable to the uncertainty of the tier system and it perhaps has a better chance of controlling the number of cases, but I have serious doubts about its effectiveness while schools and universities stay open as they seem to be the main source of positive tests.

"Thanks to the furlough scheme, we were able to retain all of our staff and with the idle time, managed to take a good look at our business and learn where we could be more efficient to help cope with the downturn in business when we reopened in July."

Mr Wellman said his main goal is "take care of our staff" and keep them employed.

'Disappointing and frustrating'

image copyrightChristian Clark
image captionChristian Clark hopes December will bring "some sort of stability"

Christian Clark, works in theatre lighting in London's West End, he said the announcement from a theatre perspective is "disappointing and frustrating".

"Shows affected will have to be postponed or cancelled once again and freelancers with work booked for November are suddenly at another loss of income."

He said with self-employed scheme not matching the rate of the furlough extension, many will feel "incredibly let down".

"Like other affected industries, theatre cannot be turned off and on like a tap," Mr Clark said.

"Hopefully December can bring a return to some sort of stability again."

'Gyms classed as essential'

image copyrightSam Gough Fitness
image captionSam Gough says with correct restrictions in place, gyms should be allowed to stay open

Sam Gough is a freelance personal trainer in Dorchester, Dorset, and firmly believes gyms should remain open.

He said: "I think gyms should have been classed as an essential business because of the great impact on mental and physical health it will cause when they're shut.

"I am positive that gyms are a safe place to be in during this time, with the correct restrictions in place, alongside a strict cleaning schedule.

image captionVaani Kaur says for people's mental health gyms should remain open

"I really hope that the decision of closing the gyms changes soon," he added.

Vaani Kaur, a 29-year-old teacher from Harrow, agrees with Mr Gough's stance, she said: "Having a full lockdown isn't a good idea right now - the winter months are extra challenging on everyone's mental health.

"The full closure of gyms is wrong, it's a key factor in battling things like anxiety and depression and is needed in a year when these are at all-time high.

They have been operating safely and no data has shown it has caused a spike in cases."

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