SHOPKEEPERS in Herefordshire are saddened but satisfied that the Prime Minister has made the right move with lockdown, a Hereford business leader has said.

Hereford BID’s Mike Truelove said many businesses are “just hanging in there” after non-essential traders were ordered to close their doors on Monday.

“January is not normally a good time for retail, but the new year is normally a new start,” Mr Truelove said.

“Businesses and clubs even as early as December were resigned to the fact that this was coming. Lockdown is necessary, but we do worry for them.”

But, Mr Truelove said, with a new government support scheme announced on Tuesday, he is hopeful that businesses will bounce back when lockdown ends.

Businesses hit by the lockdown restrictions include pubs and restaurants, clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms, betting shops, tailors, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods, although they can operate click-and-collect and delivery services.

East Street-based boutique owner Cherry Savidge said she was devastated by the lockdown.

“We agree with the measures, but we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We think we should be getting some more help from the Government and the council,” she said.

Miss Savidge said businesses in Hereford had already been challenged by the installation of social distancing measures in the city last year, which saw city centre parking spaces removed, and the closure of the Old Bridge and Aubrey Street.

Luke Conod, of Widemarsh Street’s FIT Menswear and the School Uniform Shop, said it had been clear that the country was heading for lockdown.

“With the way things were looking, it was the right thing to do, and the Government have come out with some good support for hospitality and retail this morning (January 5),” he said.

Mr Conod said his businesses have had a good year, despite lockdown, as they have been able to make the most of online retailing, though customers returned to the store and followed the rules when the tier system was introduced.

“Online retail moved forwards 10 years during the first lockdown. Our online business is around the whole country, and it continues to be good,” he said.

“We are fortunate that our warehouse is separate from our stores, so we can have separate bubbles.

“If we were just a high street business it would be very tough.”