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Maidenhead's non-essential businesses 'cautious but excited' about Monday reopening

Non-essential retailers will be able to reopen their doors to the public for the first time since December, when the area entered tier 4 lockdown restrictions.

Now shops including fashion retailers, gift sellers and craft stores will be able to welcome customers inside, with additional social distancing measures required.

Deborah Jones, director of Craft Coop in the Nicholsons Centre, revealed she and her team were eager for the reopening. “I can’t explain how excited we are,” she said. “We are going to be cautious, but we are just so excited.

“We have missed that human contact with the customers so much, and people are really excited to get back to the shop.”

Since they last shut their doors in the winter, Craft Coop staff have been busy renovating the store, ready for opening on Monday.

Meanwhile, the reopening date has come at the perfect time for Goyals, in Bridge Street. Returning on Monday, the school uniform and workwear retailer will be able to serve customers while they are on their Easter holidays, stocking up ahead of the summer term.

Owner Seema Goyal expects business to be booming once again come Monday, but is taking social distancing measures extremely seriously, and plans to enforce these rules in her shop for at least the next two years. She said: “It’s exciting because we will be seeing our customers again.

“We can’t predict anything because we don’t know what’s around the corner, we still need to protect the customers and the staff, and we have to make sure we don’t take it too easy.”

Goyals, which has been distributing PPE to hospitals and clinics during lockdown as well as taking click and collect orders, has installed a new canopy outside so that customers waiting to come into the shop can do so under cover.

Getting back to business, as well as the spring weather, has been a source of optimism for Rebecca De Jager, who runs her business Hugo’s Workshop out of the Maidenhead Gift Emporium in St Marks Crescent. She said: “Right now I am in my workshop and I have been making up some new designs. I have been feeling really optimistic because we have had some really nice weather. Walking around Maidenhead, it's just full of blooms and it’s just so lovely.”

Speaking at the Maidenhead Town Forum last week, Steph James, the council’s service lead for economic growth, revealed she was feeling optimistic ahead of Monday.

She said: “We are pretty well-rehearsed on reopening now, this will be the third time.

“As we gradually go through the roadmap to reopening, we hope to see that footfall within the town centre start to return.”

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