Portsmouth traders say Pompey spirit will keep them going in lockdown

INDEPENDENT traders are determined to survive the second lockdown with a bit of ‘Pompey spirit’.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 7:00 am
Charlotte Cornelius, owner of Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery Design in Marmion Road, Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (291020-7180)

All non-essential retail has to close its doors until December 2 as the government looks to get the Covid-19 infection rate down.

Lockdown regulations were passed in the House of Commons by MPs with 516 to 38 votes.

The decision to impose the lockdown did not come as a surprise to jewellery designer Charlotte Cornelius, who owns a shop in Marmion Road in Southsea.

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Charlotte said: ‘While I was hoping it wasn’t going to happen it was partially expected after seeing rates on the increase. It’s obviously disappointing for traders but I’m feeling as confident as I can that we will get through this and come out of lockdown.

‘Since the government made the announcement, we have been staying open until 9pm to fulfil our orders and allow customers to buy gifts before lockdown.’

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After the experience of the first lockdown, like many independent traders, Charlotte has adapted her business – called Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery Design – to continue to trade.

She said: ‘The workshop will still be open for making jewellery and we will have Zoom design appointments with customers. We normally have design evenings where people are invited into the shop.

‘During the last lockdown we did this as a Facebook live session and it got a fantastic response.

‘We intend to continue this during this lockdown.’

While Charlotte is able to continue to trade during November she’s concerned the lockdown will end up being extended beyond the current December 2 date.

She added: ‘I’m in a fortunate position but I do feel for other retailers who are going to be harder hit if they are unable to reopen for those last few weeks before Christmas.’

The lockdown will also see the monthly We Create Market, based in the old Debenhams building in Palmerston Road, having to be stopped this month.

Portsmouth Creates chairman, Tim Rusby, said: ‘The announcement was a bitter disappointment at what is a vulnerable time for our creative traders.

‘There is no government support for micro-businesses and many are having to turn to personal loans to borrow their way through the crisis.

‘Hopefully the lockdown will not go beyond the beginning of December. If everyone comes together we will come through this - the Pompey spirit.’

Portsmouth Creates is teaming up with the city council to provide online digital support to businesses owners to raise their trade and profile online.

Portsmouth City Council deputy leader Cllr Pitt said: ‘News of the lockdown was obviously devastating for local businesses and hopefully it does get relaxed at the start of December.

‘If traders can’t reopen on December 2 then thousands of businesses will go bust without continued government support.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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