A tale of two seasons
Once summer ended in August, the good weather carried on into September. With people still on furlough, school returns staggered and people just wanting to go out, Barry Island was much busier than normal. It was probably the busiest September I’ve ever had. I was confident at one point that this was going to continue for the rest of the year (Silly me) But with Covid cases rising rapidly all around the U.K., ‘summer’ came to an abrupt end during the last week of September. Also Covid was becoming more closer to home, I now knew 5 people who had the virus, all of which had different symptoms. Thankfully, all recovered.
With local lockdowns announced all around South Wales, footfall dropped dramatically. In the space of a few days. Barry island went from overly busy to overly quiet. Then to top things off, The vale of Glamorgan was then placed into a local lockdown. Practically all of South Wales was in local lockdown.
The first 3 weeks of these lockdowns, were exceptionally quiet, trade had dropped by 60-70%, even when dogs/dog walkers etc were allowed back on the beach, footfall didn’t really increase. Sometimes it was so quiet on Barry Island you could hear a pin drop. A polar opposite to how it’s Been this year since re-opening. Less people visiting, less people out and about. But I suppose that is the point of a local lockdown. Even the recent mild and dry weekends in October haven’t really seen much footfall.
With the firebreak announced on Monday 19th to start on October 23rd. All non essential shops have to close again. I think trade had just started to recover from the local lockdowns and get back to normal for the time of the year last week. It’s a blow, but I understand the reasons for it. Everyone is in the same boat.
Like summer, Christmas is a critical time for my business, like most non essential shops. So I hope that I can open and trade freely going into the festive period. I don’t expect tourism to pick but I’m fortunate to have a local customer base.
I feel the worst for my business will now be January and February, like it is every year. Just this year it might be even worse, but the 6-7 weeks after lockdown will be crucial. I just hope the firebreak is enough to see wales through to Xmas, I’m expecting another one in January/Feb, but let’s not look to far ahead yet, we haven’t finished this one!
Thinking that winter was going to be better than normal was very naive of me, but September was really busy and I was expecting it to carry on at least until the middle of October. It just shows how quickly things are still changing at present. I really Should be taking this week by week, instead of trying to plan too far ahead, as anything can happen and things can change quite quickly.