Thursday, 07 July 2022

Yet another covid blow for struggling businesses

Yet another covid blow for struggling businesses

Politicians say police should pay for service

BUSINESSES in Henley are disappointed that Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Festival cannot take place as normal, if at all.

For pubs, resturants, hotels, cafés, bed and breakfasts and many shops, July is their best month of the year for trade.

They lost out last summer when the two events were cancelled as well having to be closed for much of the past year due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Town and community manager Helen Barnett said: “The regatta and all the festivals support our traders and our economy.

“At the moment, hardly anybody is open and the impact is devastating. A number of traders have tried to be creative in order to continue during lockdown.”

She said the regatta’s announcement was “disappointing” but added: “You have to consider the health of the nation and what we don’t want is to come out of lockdown too early and then have another oen, which would be even worse for the traders.

“It is very important that we get this right nationally and we’re pleased the regatta is thinking along the same lines.

“It is going to impact on the hotels and hospitality businesses and it is a blow for all of those people that were hoping we were going to have a regatta.

“However, you have to think about the fact that the majority of the younger population still haven’t had their first vaccination and it does attract a lot of visitors o the town.

“The other consideration is international travel and if we are bringing people from abroad that presents another issue.

“For the town, it is not great news but we totally understand why the regatta has made this decision and we support them.” Henley Mayor Ken Arlett said: “It is all down to safety and I don’t think they could have made any other decision.

“We all know we are in uncertain times and until we get out of this mess these are the sorts of decisions people are going to have to make.

“The regatta is one of the main events in our social calendar. It brings tourists to the town and it is our chance to sell Henley, get people shopping and spending money.

“The sad thing about it is from the retail side — having gone through such a poor time over the last few months, this would have been a chance for them to pick up some lost revenue.

“Hopefully, in a couple of months things will change. I’m sure everybody would love that to happen.”

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