Lichfield business owners are preparing for the challenges Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions will create.

The city is due to move into the new measures when the current national lockdown ends.

It means pubs and restaurants will be forced to operate as takeaways only, while group exercise activities for adults will also be unable to take place.

Leanne Giblin, managing director at the Angel and the Duke of York in Lichfield, said the impact on her industry was significant.

Angel Inn

“Hospitality has definitely been hit more than other industries.

“It’s worrying how many businesses are going to go down. There are small grants available, but for most that wouldn’t even cover the bills.

“We’re lucky that we’ve had rent relief, but a lot of companies won’t. What you’ve got to remember is that a lot of our stock is beer and food produce.

“Everytime we change tiers or go into a lockdown you have to throw away thousands of pounds worth of stock.

“We were actually relieved being in Tier 3, rather selfishly. Being in Tier 2 again, I’m not sure how we’d operate.

“People as individuals are more likely to go to a restaurant than a pub. It’s definitely going to affect older businesses more, who can’t adapt or modernise.”

Leanne Giblin

Leanne said it was important people supported local businesses going forward.

“We really are a community hub and everything is going to have a major effect on the public’s mental health not being able to socialise or go to a pub.

“It’s also affecting the people who haven’t been able to go to work. We’ve been zooming our staff, just to keep our morale up. 

“When we come out of this, we’ve got to look at the bigger picture, and support each other.

“We are a historic city, and we’ve got a great community.

“We just need to remember to think locally – and remember we’re all in this together.”

Leanne Giblin

Other businesses have been looking to find alternative ways to continue providing services to customers.

Natalie Robertson is the owner of Lichfield-based Rise Aerial Yoga and said she’d been forced to think outside of the box.

“Business since March has been difficult and we have had to adapt.

“Obviously in the lockdowns we had to close the studio, so I decided to do my classes online. We had to change some of the teaching, because we offer aerial yoga, and people couldn’t do it at home. 

“I think it’s just about thinking out of the box and adapting – like a lot of companies have had to do.”

Natalie Robertson

“Support Lichfield as a community and they will support you”

Aerial yoga

Natalie said she was worried about the implications for her business and others. 

“I’m sad for my clients. It doesn’t make sense gyms can open, but classes can’t go ahead.

 “I’ve been campaigning to get classes back on, along with other businesses, but at the moment all we can do is follow the rules.

“When we opened up again in July, we had to implement social distancing measures. The capacity had been reduced in the hot yoga from 36 to 14, and in the aerial classes it went from 14 to 7.

“I’ve never cleaned so much in my whole life. I’ve been using hospital strength disinfectant and have even bought a fogger to make sure everything is super clean.

“The people around here are wonderful and are happy to support local business – support Lichfield as a community and they will support you.

“I’ve been messaging my clients throughout the lockdowns, just to have a bit of a chat with. It really is a balance keeping everything safe, and making sure it still feels like yoga.”

Natalie Robertson

Although upset that she will be unable to re-open, Natalie remains optimistic about the future. 

“This is temporary. There are days which feel like a slog, but our hard work will pay off.

“We’re only going to get through this by supporting each other.”

Natalie Robertson

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  1. I am upset and angry for these businesses, particularly the hospitality sector, which has done everything asked of it, but been locked in the teeth time and again by this illogical and unfair treatment by the government. I note that Michael Fabricant voted with the government to support these measures which will cost jobs. It should be his job on the line next time there is a general election. By the way, I am a conservative supporter, but I concede that the pandemic has been handled very poorly by this administration.

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