Exmouth shopping already ‘ghost-like’ as coronavirus takes hold

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 March 2020

Ian MacQueen – Chairman, Exmouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce

Ian MacQueen – Chairman, Exmouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce

Northcliffe Media Ltd.

The chairman of Exmouth Chamber of Commerce said the town’s shopping is already at ‘ghost-like’ levels following the coronavirus outbreak.

Ian MacQueen told the Journal businesses in Exmouth which rely on footfall will suffer the most and online shopping will see a rise as people self-isolate to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The NHS has recommended that anyone displaying symptoms stay at home for seven days and those who share a home with them should do so for 14 days.

Mr MacQueen said: “Obviously, you’ve only got to look around the place to see that shopping is at a ghost-like level.

“In terms of Exmouth Indoor Market, I know they have had emergency meetings and they are preparing for a shut down if they are advised to do so.

“But it’s an emerging situation on every front.

“This is the biggest crisis that any of us who are not old enough to remember World War Two have faced.”

He said it is ‘dire’ for traders who rely solely on footfall and expects to see a rise in internet purchases but said most retailers in Exmouth don’ trade online.

The Chamber of Commerce is putting together a package to offer help and advice to business owners including internet seminars and business coaching.

He said businesses that rely on cash flow are going to be the hardest hit and he expects businesses offering a delivery service to ‘do well’.

Mr MacQueen said the chamber of commerce will support businesses in any way possible.

On Tuesday (March 17), the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a package of temporary measures to support public services, people and businesses.

This included a 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure firms.

Those businesses with property of a rateable value less between £15,000 and £51,000 are also eligible for £25,000 in grant funding.

The Government has also promised £10,000 in grant funding for all companies in receipt of small business rate relief.

Mr MacQueen recommended that business owners check out what grants or help they might be eligable for.

Visit the Government’s Covid-19 business support website for more information.

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