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‘We’ve been brilliant in north Norfolk’ - lockdown concerns in area with just one new case

PUBLISHED: 08:33 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:09 22 September 2020

Crowds flocked to Cromer to make the most of the September sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Crowds flocked to Cromer to make the most of the September sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

With the government refusing to rule out a second national lockdown, what do the people of north Norfolk - where just one new case was announced today - think?

The re-opening of some shops in North Walsham following lockdown saw shoppers return to the town centre. Although a  large number of non-essential shops remained closed. Picture: Casey Cooper-FiskeThe re-opening of some shops in North Walsham following lockdown saw shoppers return to the town centre. Although a large number of non-essential shops remained closed. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

The benchmark of cases per 100,000 people is the second lowest in north Norfolk, with just one new case recorded during the seven days to September 10, a fall from five the previous week.

In a press conference on Monday morning the government’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance warned that the UK could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October, if the current infection rate is not halted.

Most shoppers in North Walsham this morning said they were not in favour of another lockdown, with many believing restrictions would be unfair given low infection rates in north Norfolk.

One lady who did not wish to be named said: “They can’t have another one here [where] hardly anyone has it. I think I’d be quite alright with a two-week lockdown, I think that could work but you can’t close everything down again when everyone has done so well to open up again and keep the virus low, it wouldn’t be fair.”

Bob White, owner of newsagent Showcase Gallery in the town said he felt the country had to avoid another national lockdown, adding that any new measures had to be introduced in the counties with the highest numbers of cases only.

He said: “We as the British public have got to get our act together and prevent a worsening of the situation.

“If there was another lockdown, then we would obviously have less people around the business, it would immediately have a knock-on effect on how long we stay open for.

“Because we sell national newspapers we were allowed to trade all the time during the last lockdown, but we’re doing all we can at the moment, customers are wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and staff are behind screens.

“I think people here are being very very careful. We’ve been brilliant in north Norfolk, we’re lucky we haven’t got the density of population that other places have and that makes a huge difference.”

Malcolm Henner, assistant manager of Mary Jane’s Fish and Chip Shop in Cromer said he would accept another national lockdown with cases rising across the country.

He said: “If they plan on closing restaurants and bars then our restaurant would have to close and we would have to go down to minimal staff for the takeaway which we hope would be allowed to keep running and hopefully get our delivery business back up and running.

“At the end of the day, they’ve lifted the restrictions and now the cases have gone up again so I don’t know what you’d consider fair to be.”

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said he would press health minister Matt Hancock to ensure major national restrictions were an “absolute last resort” and to make sure measures would be tailored to reflect local infection rates.

He said: “We have fared well in Norfolk and even better in North Norfolk thanks to the tremendous sacrifice of my constituents and the way we have followed the guidance.

“Even with huge numbers of visitors coming this summer we remain relatively infection free. That is not a coincidence, it is squarely down to the vast majority acting accordingly and sensibly.”

The Broads Authority said it would be monitoring the situation regarding another lockdown adding it would review its approach if changes affected the local area.

Many boat hire companies have extended their bookings into October in an attempt to claw back profits lost in the last lockdown, however those bookings may be at threat if a national lockdown was introduced next month.


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