This lockdown has been very different to the first one. Who knows, it may be very different to the next one, if indeed another one comes. There is a lot more traffic on the roads, probably because the schools are still open but also due to the large number of delivery vans.
This time there doesn’t seem to be the same feeling of support. In the spring, there was a much greater feeling of camaraderie, we were genuinely all in it together and we understood the need. Now I am not so sure, people are weary and wary, both of the virus itself and the never ending and incomprehensible list of rules.
Whilst the majority of the shops on the high street have remained shut, those selling essentials have remained open. The definition of what is essential has been stretched but who is to say what individuals find important.
Some shops, and this is very different to the first lockdown, are offering click and collect. You can order goods online, choose to collect them at the store and, by paying in advance, pick them up as and when you like. Some of the shops have set up a small counter at the front door, while others require you to knock loudly and an incarcerated member of staff will come out and help. It is a small way of getting revenue into the local economy.
The problem with allowing some shops to open and others not is that it gives an unfair competitive advantage to some at the cost of others. For example, bookshops are not open yet supermarkets can sell books. What is to stop the supermarket from using the lockdown to expand their range of titles, putting more pressure on the bookshops once they are allowed to open.
Click and collect is a small way of fighting back but again it favours those businesses which have had the resource and ability to invest in online catalogues. Lockdown is favouring online traders at the cost of bricks and mortar stores.
I understand the need to tackle the pandemic and understand that the decisions the government is making are very difficult but the lockdowns are going to leave their mark on the highstreet for a long time to come. One in seven businesses in the UK is on the brink of closure. I am afraid that many of these will be small shops.