Haverhill businesses enjoy busy start to reopening

Business owners in Haverhill town centre have spoken of their delight at reopening their doors – while also thanking customers for their understanding of social distancing.

A number of shops throughout the town resumed trading this week, in line with national guidance, while the town centre displayed social distancing markers implemented by Haverhill Town Council and West Suffolk Council.

Early feedback suggested businesses in Haverhill were being well supported.

Aron Woodward, store manager of Simpkins Jewellers, said: “We were definitely busier than I anticipated – it was almost like a normal trading day.

“We are limited the number of people who can come into the shop at one time and we have hand sanitiser for customers, PPE screens and social distancing markers.

“Customers were very understanding and friendly – they just said they were glad we were back open.”

Ellis Interiors in Queens Square remains open for appointments-only, but owner Dave Ellis revealed they were planning to reopen more fully later this month.

Dave said: “It has been a rollercoaster but our customers have been very loyal and understanding and we are now looking forward to operating business as normal.

“While the showroom is appointment-only, with all the relevant safety measures in place, we have begun working in people’s homes and everyone has been very sensible.”

Businesses were supported with reopening by local councillors and other volunteers who ensured social distancing signs and other safety notices issued by West Suffolk Council were on display around the town.

Haverhill mayor John Burns said: “It is certainly nice to see more businesses opening again and I hope this will continue in the weeks to come.

“I think the town is very safe and people are respecting the social distancing by queuing for shops in a safe manner.

“I would like to thank councillor Aaron Lucarelli and employees at Haverhill Town Council who helped on Saturday to display the various signs and notices.”

Robert Peacock, manager of The Works, praised the work of the volunteer group, adding: “All the markers around the town are fantastic and help make it very safe for all.

“We reopened on Monday and it was brilliant to be back. We were nice and busy and all customers were very respectful of the social distancing.”

Dan Pilley, owner of Nine Jars, has adapted his business in recent weeks to operate a successful takeaway service.

He added: “I think more businesses reopening will have a positive impact on everyone – and the town as a whole.”

John Mayhew, spokesman for the Heart of Haverhill business group set up to promote the town centre, said he was pleased to see more shops opening in the High Street.

He added: “The Heart of Haverhill is here to support all businesses and promote the town centre as a great place to visit.

“We would like to thank the councillors and volunteers who ensured all the relevant guidance from West Suffolk Council was promoted throughout our town.

“We would urge people to use their local town as much as possible when they feel it is the right time to visit.”

Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “We are delighted to see people doing their bit to stay safe and leave space while supporting their local businesses in Haverhill.

“Helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses reopen is of course a team effort and I would like to thank everyone involved.

“The measures that are in place will undoubtedly change and evolve over time as things improve or guidance changes. But West Suffolk Council continues to work across the district with a range of organisations and businesses to help create safer places for people to shop, trade and support the local economy.”

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