Bustling Holt is rallying round

Holt has had a rougher time than many places as it reopens for business after the covid-19 lockdown. Just as its shops were about to open their doors again, a fire ripped through its only large supermarket, leaving residents without many of the essentials they had relied on.

Local shops rallied round, selling basic supplies alongside their usual offerings, and people offered shopping trips and deliveries from nearby towns, showing what a sense of community that exists in the town.

Just Regional had a socially distanced “sit down” with Sarah Tribe, of Love Holt, to see how the town was bouncing back.

Have many local businesses opened their doors?

Yes. From the start of lockdown vital services kept going such as fresh food pet supplies and medicines and, following government guidelines, we have seen a steady trickle of openings as we adjust to the so-called ‘new normal’. Each week Love Holt sends an email with news to traders and key town players and shop openings have been added to this.
Traders are sharing info on PPE suppliers and how to open responsibly and we are working with North Norfolk District Council’s town liaison to contact those not yet open and offering help to do so. 

How is Holt faring now shops are beginning to open up again?
Holt’s bustling, but in a very calm and considerate manner.
Floor decals are now down helping people to know where to queue and, in some places, making it clear in what direction.

Are many people out and about?
We have noticed an increase in footfall over the past two to three weeks. We think free parking [in the Bakers and Larners car park, the Gresham’s site on Church Street and two hours free at the North Norfolk District Council car parks until the end of July] has also enticed people to come into town, at any time of the day that suits.

What measures have been brought in to keep everyone as safe as possible?
There are floor decals – please wait here, please queue here etc – and sanitiser stations are coming. People seem calm and considerate while in the town and there is enough time and space.

What is happening to mitigate the loss of Budgens following the fire?
Budgens made up a lot of Holt’s day-to-day footfall, and with this gone the town must work extra hard to maintain itself as a premium market town destination.
The weekly Makers Market initiative just started is an example of how Love Holt hopes to help achieve this.
The post office has been relocated to Bakers and Larners.

We all had acquaintances in Budgens who we’d see on a regular basis and have a bit of a chat. It’s sad to think we will not now see our friends for a while.

Holt is like an overgrown village at times, and at times like this we all lean inwards and do what we can to help.

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