Saturday, 23 January 2021

Forty businesses still open in third lockdown

Forty businesses still open in third lockdown

AT least 40 “essential” businesses remain open in Henley town centre during the third nationwide lockdown.

They include dentists, opticians, estate agents, newsagents, banks, sports shops and stationers.

Many are only allowing customers to visit by appointment.

But customers can walk into many others, including newsagents New News, Regatta Wines and convenience store Henley Mini Market in Reading Road and Station News in Station Road.

Health and beauty retailers Boots and the Henley Pharmacy in Bell Street as well as Superdrug in Falaise Square and Bodywise Health Foods in Upper Market Place are also serving customers.

Foods and drink retailers Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Local, butcher Gabriel Machins, Patisserie Franco Belge and the Mr Simms sweet shop are also open. Majestic wine, which opened at the new Gardiner Place development, off Falaise Square, in November, allows a maximum of six customers in at one time and card payments only.

Ravi Singh, who runs Bodywise Health Foods, said: “We are one of the lucky shops to be open. It has not been massively busy but it’s ticking over.

“It’s better than closing to be honest. I feel sorry for the others that have not been able to open.”

Only two customers are allowed in the shop at once.

“Our customers are very positive and people are pleased we’re open and that they are able to get their vitamins and minerals, flax seeds and nuts,” said Mr Singh.

The Willow Basket in Friday Street is also open from Thursday to Sunday.

Business open by appoint ment include dentists Royal House, Blandy House, Rozsa Dental Clinic, Damira Dental Studios and Smile Dental Care. The same applies to opticians Frost Borneo, Bunker and Boots.

Estate agents are allowed to continue working and many, including Tim Peers, Ballards, Knight Frank and Simmons & Sons, are open by appointment.

HSL, a specialist in handmade chairs, beds and sofas in Reading Road, is open for appointment only with one customer allowed in store at a time.

Dave Watts, store team leader, said: “Our customers are people who are either of an older age or who have health problems.

“We offer appointments so that anyone shielding can have the store exclusively to themselves for up to two hours. During the first lockdown we were closed so being ‘essential’ is not only good for us, it’s good for our customers.

“Business has been very steady and our customers appreciate the service. The last thing we want is anyone struggling at home for any longer than they need to.”

Other businesses allowing customers into their premises include dry cleaners Reids of Henley and Lilly Dry Clean, the Henley Pet Shop and dog grooming business Naughty Mutt Nice.

Jason Acock, who owns Henley Cycles in Duke Street, said: “We’re fortunate that we’re one of the shops that is on the list of essential businesses.

“We’re thankful for that because we haven’t had to furlough anyone or close our doors.

“From my point of view as a business owner, having all or the majority  of the other businesses closed, is not good for trade.

“I don’t want shops to be closed, I want them to be open because that encourages others to come out. I don’t want to see anyone struggling and want the town to be back to normal.”

Sports goods retailers Henley Sports and Henley Cycles as well as stationer W H Smith and hardware store Robert Dyas.

The Lloyds, Barclays, Nationwide, Natwest and HSBC banks and the Post Office are all open with a limited amount of customers allowed in at one time.

Meanwhile, cafés including Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, Starbucks, Harris & Hoole, Berries Coffee and the Henley Larder, are offering takeaways.

Many retailers are also trading online or offering a click and collect service.

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