As national coronavirus restrictions are lifted from tomorrow (Wednesday 2 December), shoppers across East Suffolk can now look forward to returning to the high street in the run up to Christmas.
With East Suffolk categorised as Tier 2 (high alert), non-essential shops, personal care businesses, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen from 2 December.
This news will no doubt come as a welcome relief to local traders, who have so far missed out on the usual pre-Christmas rush. Through its ongoing ‘Shop Local’ campaign, East Suffolk Council is continuing to encourage local shoppers to support their local towns during this crucial Christmas period and to support independent retailers, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and cafes as much as they can.
Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Economic Development said: “Whilst Tier 2 has firm limitations on household mixing and social interaction, moving into this category is good news for the local economy as it enables a wider range of businesses, including all retail, leisure, entertainment and personal care, to reopen in a Covid-secure way. The pre-Christmas period is the busiest time of the year for many of these sectors and we would urge East Suffolk residents to continue to safely support their local shops and businesses for their Christmas shopping and beyond.
“Our local towns are open and are operating as safely as possible, however we appreciate that some people may prefer not to venture out. Many businesses successfully adapted to the previous restrictions by creating and expanding online shops or delivery services, and we would thoroughly recommend supporting local businesses online too.
"As well as encouraging people to ‘shop local’, we want to remind residents to continue to visit our local towns safely. This means wearing a face covering when shopping, unless exempt, and to social distance wherever possible. It is also critical that people abide by any additional safety measures the retailers may have put in place, such as limits on the number of people allowed in store at one time.”
For the hospitality sector, the new Tier 2 restrictions mean that pubs and bars operating as restaurants must provide table service only and must remain closed between 11pm and 5am. They must also call last orders at 10pm, with the extra hour solely for finishing what has already been ordered.
For those enjoying the wide-ranging take-away and delivery options on offer, hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm. However, this must be via a delivery service, click-and-collect or a drive-through.