24 Oct Coronavirus: Traders in Wales ‘devastated’ as nationwide lockdown comes into force | UK News
At the indoor market in Pontypridd there’s a sense of déjà vu.
The shutters are down, chairs and tables empty, the cafes and stalls closed.
Mary Coleman and her husband are turning the lights off at their babywear shop as we walk up to chat.
As a non-essential retailer, they’re banned from trading.
“Absolutely devastated. October and November are my best trading months of the year in my business,” Mary tells me.
“Two weeks have been taken from me, we’ve started building the business up from the last lockdown, and I feel like we’ve taken two steps forward and six steps back,” she adds.
Looking around the empty market hall, Mary says this place is about more than just shopping: “There are a lot of lonely people out there, a little comfort from their families is what they’re missing. A lot of people come to the market to socialise with people because they’ve got no one else – it’s quite devastating.”
Pontypridd was already under local lockdown restrictions – but now the whole of Wales is in the same boat.
Up the road from the market, regulars at The Patriot made the most of last orders before the door was locked at 6pm.
Landlord Neil Davies told Sky News this 17-day lockdown will cost him £16k – but he fears there could be another one, and his eyes on are Christmas.
“Christmas is a busy time for us and we can’t get as many people in here as we’d like to,” he says. “The thing is it’s hurting our industry big time. There’s a lot of pubs in town here, and a lot of pubs are going to close and not get through this pandemic.”
By the time the lockdown begins it’s pretty much dark on Pontypridd’s high street.
For the handful of locals heading home there’s a feeling this won’t be the last time they’re told to stay indoors.
“I hope it doesn’t last till Christmas because people like to go to other households – but if it has to happen it has to happen doesn’t it?” Sophie tells me.
Kieran is convinced there’ll be another lockdown: “If you look at what happened in March, they said four weeks and it went to three months – I think it’s going to be more than two weeks.”
I ask him how that makes him feel: “C**p. Lose work, lose everything man.”
One elderly gentleman agreed that this firebreak won’t be enough to tackle the virus: “Even if it does last two weeks I don’t think it will be enough, it’ll just be a little blip and we’ll all think ‘oh it’s gone now’, and come closer to Christmas, here we go again.”
The Welsh government says it will be some weeks after 9 November before the country sees what achievements the firebreak will bring – until then, the people of Pontypridd and the whole country are back indoors.