'Huge' thank you from restaurant as hundreds visit in first week open since November

Lichfield traders have hailed the relaxing of Covid restrictions which has enabled customers to make a return to their premises in person.

Some of the team at The Bureau restaurant in Market Street, Lichfield
Some of the team at The Bureau restaurant in Market Street, Lichfield

Non-essential shops and restaurants in the city centre opened up on Monday last week bringing hopes of recovery after what has been a torrid year.

Caroline Davis, who, together with Jenni Arnold, co-owns of The Bureau restaurant in Market Street, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who has visited us so far.

“Last week was our second best since we opened as The Bureau last July – we served 1,600 diners.

“Our ‘Banging Bureau Burger’ was a particular favourite.”

Caroline explained that the restaurant closed on November 4 last year and has been closed until this month.

“We traded for four months last year which for a fledgling business was horrendous,” she said.

“We are very grateful for the Government’s support – we would not be here without it.

“We were able to keep on all 22 staff because of the furlough scheme. I am proud of how Jenni and I have kept this business going through the most difficult trading times ever.”

Caroline recognised that The Bureau has “a good outside space” which has made reopening viable and said that people seem glad to get out after such a long time.

“We are also grateful to our suppliers, the brewery, the butchers and the bin collectors for their understanding,” added Caroline.

"Our popular window displays have made a real difference – my husband Paul has been doing them. I felt it showed people that we are still here.”

David Craig, proprietor of Alpha Sports said that the easing of restrictions has enabled runners to come in to the Market Street shop for treatment.

“Everyone has been running but we have not been able to treat them for any injuries they have sustained.

“We treat runners’ injuries here and put them in the correct footwear.”

David said customers book an appointment electronically and come into the shop where Covid regulations are adhered to.

“Last week we had to extend our opening hours - we did four times more appointments than usual.”

Lizzy Braine, who runs The Kitchen Shop in Market Street with her sister Vicky Woolston, said that because theirs is a specialist business customers have been buying kitchen equipment from them.

“People have been learning new skills such as pasta making and baking,” said Lizzy.

“Some people have had to cook for the first time during lockdown.

“They needed new cookware.”

Lizzie explained that the business has reduced its opening hours - now 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4.30pm on Saturdays - to reduce costs.

“The Government grants saved us completely,” said Lizzy who has, with her colleagues, been sending out online orders to customers through the lockdown.

“We have re-opened carefully and thoughtfully.

“We don’t know what kind of world we will be returning to.

“Will it be a flash in the pan?

“People are welcome to come in and browse but socially distanced.”

Lizzy is encouraging shoppers to support independent retailers.

“If people spend with us, the money pays people who live and work in the local area,” said Lizzy.

“It does not go to some international conglomerate.

“If you want to see Lichfield thrive, keep it local.”

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