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‘Not a soul about’: Towns praised for keeping distance, but businesses keen to reopen

PUBLISHED: 13:59 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 21 May 2020

Staff at Jay Jay's Beach Cafe.

Staff at Jay Jay's Beach Cafe.

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Two coastal towns have been praised by local businesses for keeping their distance as the bank holiday weekend approaches.

Two coastal towns have been praised by local businesses for keeping their distance as the country begins to ease out of lockdown.  Picture: James BassTwo coastal towns have been praised by local businesses for keeping their distance as the country begins to ease out of lockdown. Picture: James Bass

In Gorleston and Lowestoft, visits from tourists to the towns remain low despite soaring temperatures and government approval to visit the seaside as long as social distancing is adhered to.

“There’s not a soul about,” said Jay Formosa, owner of Jay Jay’s Cafe on Marine Parade, Gorleston. “It has not been busy at all. Everyone is plodding around and still keeping to their self, looking after themselves.”

Mr Formosa said he was keen to attract more visitors, adding: “We serve one in, one out, and we’re not allowed to use our tables outside. It’s difficult.”

READ MORE: Tale of two coasts on hottest day of the year in Norfolk as daytrippers pick and choose

A sunny day in 2016 at Jay Jay's on Gorleston Beach. Photo: Jay Jay's CafeA sunny day in 2016 at Jay Jay's on Gorleston Beach. Photo: Jay Jay's Cafe

From Sunday, May 10, people have been allowed to sunbathe, picnic, and drive to beauty spots to enjoy “unlimited exercise”.

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As part of the government’s first cautious steps to ease the lockdown, car parks and public toilets across the region are beginning to reopen.

However those at the country’s most easterly towns remain circumspect about visiting the beach.

Mark Platt, the owner of Lowestoft’s Kensington Gardens Cafe, which is directly adjacent to the beach, said: “There’s not a massive footfall here. I have to weigh up if it’s worth opening to do to a limited amount of catering.

“We’re sticking to the letter of the law and staying well out of the way in Lowestoft. Businesses will return to normal as soon as is humanly possible, but I don’t think we have seen the full effect of having people around again.”

READ MORE: Old Hunstanton braced for fresh invasion of day trippers

He added: “I don’t want to be shut. All local businesses want to reopen because of the nice weather, but the temptation to open is too soon.”

In East Suffolk, car parks remain closed but parking charges are to be reintroduced when they reopen from Monday, May 25, in an effort to ensure that the easing out of lockdown is gradual.

However across East Anglia the picture differs, as summer hotspots such as Old Hunstanton in North Norfolk have been ‘invaded’ by day trippers, since car parks on the cliff tops reopened.


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