Coronavirus: ‘I’m fed up – but it’s got to be done’ – Burnley gears up for new lockdown rules | UK News

Coronavirus: ‘I’m fed up – but it’s got to be done’ – Burnley gears up for new lockdown rules | UK News

The doors of Burnley Market Hall are unlocked at 9am, but there is no queue of people rushing in. 

Saturday morning – and there’s just a handful of shoppers, mainly elderly, browsing the butchers, toy stall and mobile phone repair stand.

“Since the last lockdown, trade hasn’t returned anyway,” says John Nugent, who runs J&A groceries.

He’s concerned the new local lockdown measures, coming into force from Tuesday in Lancashire, will hit business even further.

John Nugent, greengrocer
John Nugent says he’s worried the change will further damage trade

“We deal with older people, so my fear is they won’t come out as they’re frightened of it.

“To be honest, there’s not a lot here to bring people in anyway. Look how many empty shops there are.”

He’s right. Some stalls look abandoned.

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The market has done what it can to adapt with a one-way system and hand gel, but without footfall it doesn’t really matter.

Many of the market's booths stand empty
The market is already very quiet

John says many businesses didn’t return to the market after the nationwide lockdown was imposed in March.

Walk past a few empty stands and the butchers has two customers at the counter, Irene Catlow and Patt Caroll.

“It’s terrible. It used to be smashing in here, you could get everything,” Irene tells me.

“I don’t want this new lockdown. I live on my own. I can’t see my grandchildren or children. I’m worried about the future.”

Irene Catlow and Patt Caroll
Irene Catlow (left) says she can’t see her grandchildren or children

The butcher – who didn’t want to be named – agrees the local lockdown must be done, but isn’t happy.

“I am fed up with it,” he said.

“It’s just got to be done hasn’t it, but it has an impact on business. It’s not going to help. Everyone has different views.”

Steve McNulty runs Burnley Market Framing.

He told Sky News not everyone will adhere to new rules that state people can’t socialise with anyone outside of their home or social bubble.

“I don’t think many people will stick to it,” he says.

“In the first four to six weeks of lockdown, I still noticed neighbours having people round. You’ve got to trust the government, they supposedly know better than us,” he said.

Steve McNulty
Steve McNulty isn’t sure people will abide by the tougher restrictions

Most people in the market tut and roll their eyes when you mention next week’s lockdown.

Many seem frustrated, but resigned to the measures.

The fear is these local restrictions could turn into a full lockdown if COVID-19 cases don’t fall here.

“I’d close down if a full lockdown happened again,” said Steve McNulty.

Carol Beswick
Carol Beswick says there are ‘too many conflicts’ in the rules

“The market would close straight away. A lot didn’t come back after the first one. If there’s another lockdown, I’d have to find a job somewhere.

“Business is bad enough as it is. I haven’t seen a lot of regulars since before lockdown anyway.”

Carol Beswick has had to reduce her part-time staff at the florists from three to one following the national lockdown.

“I think this [local lockdown] will impact more on people’s mental health to be honest,” she says.

“It’ll be horrendous for some, not being able to see friends. But then you can see people at work and in the pub? There are too many conflicts.”

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