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Newmarket's High Street set to show signs of life as government eases coronavirus lockdown rules




Newmarket's High Street will start to emerge from stasis today with stores considered non-essential allowed to open for the first time.

Shops including New Look and Shoezone will re-open their doors for the first time since the government ordered them to shut 84 days ago as it battled to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Tomorrow more town stores are set to re-open, all following new Covid-secure guidelines, with Golding and Martha V set to serve customers once again.

Oran Redmond, programme manager at West Suffolk Council, placing one way signs on Newmarket's High Street on Friday Picture: Dan Barker (36621357)
Oran Redmond, programme manager at West Suffolk Council, placing one way signs on Newmarket's High Street on Friday Picture: Dan Barker (36621357)

Other stores are planning later opening dates, including Rocking Rabbit, in Market Street, and Tindalls, in High Street, which will open on Wednesday.

Some stores were able to re-open earlier, with independent coffee shop Cortado Espresso Bar in Exeter Road and QD in the High Street now trading, and essential outlets like banks, off licences and butchers trading throughout lockdown.

One way system in Newmarket's Guineas Shopping Centre (36621366)
One way system in Newmarket's Guineas Shopping Centre (36621366)

But for the first time in weeks drivers will have to pay to park in Newmarket's car parks with West Suffolk Council re-introducing charges.

The slow re-opening of the economy comes after the Office of National Statistics said the economy crashed in April, slumping by a record breaking 20 per cent and making it the worst performer in Europe.

And it will be hoped re-opening will put a dent in the government furlough bill, with 13,900 people in West Suffolk having 80 per cent of their wages paid by the government and 9,600 workers in East Cambridgeshire.

On Friday West Suffolk Council staff were placing one way signs on to High Street pavements, as the authority tried to encourage people to socially distance as they shop. In the Guineas Shopping Centre, a one way system has also been introduced with security guards at the centre to police the one way system.

And in Soham and Ely, East Cambridgeshire District Council said it too has put up signs welcoming shoppers back and advising them of the two metre social distancing rules.