'We'll get through this with your support' - Sunderland shops respond to Lockdown 3
Less than a week after having to adapt to Tier 4, Sunderland businesses are now having to navigate Lockdown 3 restrictions.
After the Prime Minister’s address to the nation at 8pm on January 4, businesses had to either close, remain closed, or pivot in line with the latest round of restrictions on the morning of Tuesday, January 5.
The main changes from Tier 4 are that pubs and restaurants, while still able to offer takeaway and delivery, cannot sell takeaway alcohol.
Click and collect at places such as coffee shops is also being more actively encouraged to avoid gathering, however, takeaway on-the-spot orders are also still permitted.
For Sweet Petite, it’s a daunting first week in their new home at Mackie’s Corner in the city centre, but the cake shop is urging people to continue to support local business where possible when doing their food shopping.
The business is permitted to open in lockdown, but its owners are encouraging people to adhere to social distancing.
Laura Graham, who runs the business with husband Tommy, said: “We are quite lucky that we are still able to trade during this lockdown.
"It's quite daunting having just opened our shop at Mackie’s Corner and it isn't ideal, but we know it's for the best for everyone.
"We have measures in place to ensure your visit to us is as safe as can be. We will also be offering a contactless delivery service for those who would prefer not to venture out at all.
“Despite the worry, we are keeping positive. We will adapt where we can but I know with the support of our wonderful local community, we can get through this.”
As will many of the city’s coffee shops, such as Grinder in Durham Road, which is encouraging click & collect, but will still offer regular takeouts.
Some, however, have taken the decision to temporarily close. That includes CoffeeHaus in John Street.
Owner Ashley Bell, who opened the coffee spot last year, put out a statement on the shop’s social media, saying: “Understanding that on some weird level of new rules and regulations we can stay open, personally, this is really cutting it fine.
"I really couldn’t (and shouldn’t) encourage all of you lovely souls to come down for a takeout. Especially when the emphasis on ‘Stay Home’ has been pushed even further again tonight.
"Thank you for everything so far. This will not be forever! It’s just for now.”
On the local high street, city institution Müller's, who’ve been baking bread in Sunderland for more than 60 years, will keep their Villette Road and Sea Road branches open in lockdown, as well the city centre branch in Blandford Street.
Charles Müller says it would be devastating for Sunderland to lose its local shops.
“We think it is hugely important for people to shop locally and independently, with so many small businesses struggling during Covid it makes it even more important,” he explained. “Sunderland's identity lies within its circle of local business, to lose that would be devastating."
Like many businesses, the bakery will be offering a delivery service to those shielding and those who prefer not to leave the house. There’s a small delivery charge and purchases have to be more than £10.
It comes as the Echo continues its #SupportLocal campaign to urge people to shop local, whether online or in store, where possible.