'A real buzz' hits Lowestoft as lockdown rules ease
- Credit: Mick Howes
Businesses in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad admitted it was "great to be back" as "a real buzz" was reported across the area.
With business leaders hailing the "fantastic footfall", shoppers were enjoying the freedom once more as restrictions were relaxed with lockdown easing on Monday, April 12.
Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad was equally busy, with numerous families enjoying the sunshine ahead of children returning to school after the Easter holidays.
Officials at Lowestoft Vision – the town’s business improvement district (BID) – which is managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, offered a warm welcome back to town - as they urged the public to "continue to support your local businesses."
Dan Poitras, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said: "There's a real buzz about the place.
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"The footfall looks fantastic and we've not seen numbers like this for at least a year.
"It's great to see - the town centre needs it, the people need it.
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"There has been large queues at banks, barbershops and hairdressers, and the retail stores while the beer gardens are back open.
"It has been really busy."
Mr Poitras added: "Shoppers have been adhering to the rules and wearing masks and now the shops and independent stores are open again, let's support them!"
Similar sentiments, and scenes, were on display in Oulton Broad as scores of people enjoyed the sunshine.
The Gift Shop on Bridge Road, Oulton Broad - a popular independent small business - opened its doors once more having been closed since Christmas Eve.
Andrew Page, owner of The Gift Shop, said: “It's great to get the shop doors open again.
"We've already had a nice number of people coming in to see us back open again."
Returning to its normal hours, and open seven days a week, Mr Page said: "During lockdown it has been nice to see Oulton Broad keeping busy with lots of people visiting Nicholas Everitt Park.
"Christmas Eve was our last day open and since then we have been running click and collect services and the website has been busy.
"It has been lovely to have the local customers doing click and collect with us.
"I would say that Oulton Broad is positive about the summer season and we are looking forward to a nice summer season to help everyone."
With no appointments needed, there were long queues all day at Crisp's Barber Shop on Bridge Road, Oulton Broad.
Manager Marcia Capps, at the popular four-chair barbers, said: "It's been very busy.
"We have been open since 8.30am and the queues have been down the road all day.
"It is so nice to be back again as the last day we were open was on Christmas Eve - so our regular customers have all gone almost four months without a haircut.
"We are not having a day off this week and we'll be working every day, six days a week to deal with the demand.
"We've had to correct a few lockdown haircuts that have gone wrong, and everyone that has been in has said it's been great to get back to having a proper haircut."