2020 with a Pandemic
2020, where to start, what a year, I’m not sure. It’s been a terrible year in so many ways. Last new years eve I was Djing a party, with over 100 people, drunk, enjoying themselves seeing in the new year. This year I was sat at home watching tv and writing a blog. The old world is a distant memory right now. Things have changed. When the first cases were announced in the U.K. in February/March, I guess my mind set was much different to how it is now, I didn’t want to close at the start of what was meant to be an amazing summer. The first 6 weeks of lockdown 1 were quite nervy, I’d bought a lot of stock in preparation and had to pay for it, rent was due, bills had to be paid etc then there was financial support on offer, which was a god send, not just to my business but I imagine most businesses in the U.K., it took the pressure off for the foreseeable.
When open during the summer, the early parts were difficult, large crowds, fights and people not following rules. It all changed once the pubs opened and the it was more families, August was probably the busiest month I have ever had in nearly 4 years on Barry Island. It carried on until September, due to the good weather, furlough and people just wanting to get out.
It was a tale of two seasons during the local lockdown as Barry Island went from overly busy to overly quiet within 24 hours. 4-5 weeks in local lockdown and trade was exceptionally bad. After the local lockdown came the firebreak, another 2.5 weeks closed.
After the firebreak, trade picked up, it was probably just above normal for the time of the year, and I have to say, most Sunday’s were busier than normal. Heading into the Christmas season, Barry Island stayed reasonably busy and trade was good, but cases were surging, both locally and nationally. I made the decision to close the shop the Sunday before Christmas, do a few days in isolation so I could spend Christmas Day with some family. A lockdown had already been announced for the day after the Christmas relaxation period but this was brought forward. I guess most sensed it coming. I totally understand why it needed to happen, but to give 7 hours notice to traders was a bit harsh. A lot of independents rely on the week before Christmas for trade, the hospitality vendors who had planned meals for the week ahead, how much wastage would’ve occurred. I guess in the minds of the Government, it was better to just have 7 hours of busy queues then 48 hours if they gave a notice period. It was great to see the local community support so many local businesses during the pandemic. Hopefully the shop local message has hit home.
I suspect this lockdown will be much longer than the firebreak. I don’t think I’ll be open until at least February, maybe March. I’m not too bothered about this as it’s my quiet period and tend to close the first two weeks of January anyway. What I don't want is another lockdown during the spring-summer season. As a business that relies on people visiting during their free time, This year, I've missed 3 bank holidays, 4 half terms. Although the extra few weeks good weather in September was a much welcomed bonus.
Like most, I’ve barely seen any friends or family all year, I’ve missed little luxuries like eating out, gigs, GlastonBARRY, djing, seeing and being close to people, little things . These lockdowns have been tough, staying in for long periods at a time is definitely no good for mental health. In the summer we had the luxury of good weather so could go out in the garden, we don’t have that luxury this lockdown. Hopefully with the vaccines, things will look better for 2021. I'm hopeful, but it'll be some time yet until we are at 100% normality and this is forgotten.
This year has had some positives though. I’ve had a lot of time off to spend with my daughter. Given the long period of good weather we had in the summer, I definitely wouldn’t have taken this time off if it was normal. I had the best August I’ve ever had. Worked with more local suppliers and will be working with them more during 2021, keeping money more locally within the community. Most importantly, the business is still standing and raring to go for 2021 with a whole new basket of fresh ideas, which maybe I wouldn't have thought of if the pandemic didn't happen, who knows.
With the vaccine rollout starting, hopefully things will be better by spring, or even summer. Don’t think I can handle another busy summer of managing the amount of people coming into the shop, face masks, and social Distancing . One summer was enough.
All in all, its been weird, exhausting, long, scary, nervy, sometimes fun, anxious, stop start year. I know quite a few people who have had covid now, thankfully all recovered, and guess each person will have a much different perspective on the year. Most importantly, I'm safe and well, and ready to get going in 2021.
Thanks for the support this year. Hopefully 2021 is better for everyone and lockdowns become a thing of the past.