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Calls for more facts for firms

Business owners in Bognor Regis town centre are feeling increasingly anxious in the coronavirus lockdown.

 

Heather Allen, the co-ordinator of the town’s business improvement district (BID), said more information about the help promised by the government was needed to allay their fears about the future.

 

She said: “I would say the mood among are members is anxious. They know there is money coming but we have not been given any information about when it is going to come.

 

“Everyone can see from one perspective that all these systems to pay the money have to be set up from scratch.

 

“But, from an everyday perspective, they see their everyday lives being affected by what is happening.

 

“Everyone is desperate to know what is going on. People definitely need certainty at the moment.”

 

Heather, pictured right with BID chairman Jason Passingham, has been keeping the BID’s 490 members in and around the town centre fully information about the fast evolving situation as the country gets to grips with tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Prime minister Boris Johnson set out on Monday the lockdown which has ordered people to stay indoors to limit the spread of the virus.

 

He also imposed strict limits on the ‘essential’ businesses which can stay open. This has seen most of the town centre shut since then.

 

The challenges of coping with the shutdown added to the already changing nature of high streets because of online shopping. The inability to walk into shops had accelerated that ongoing switch.

 

Heather said: “This has been an absolute catalyst for that process and it has been good to see the tenacity and the ingenuity that businesses in Bognor Regis have shown in recent weeks.

 

“They have done all that they can to continue operating in some way.

 

“They have still stayed valid and vibrant and it shows how important local businesses are for the community.

 

“Hopefully, at the end of this current situation, people will appreciate what they have been able to access through high street businesses and continue to support them when things go back to normal.”

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