Black Country shoppers and traders ready for hugs, hotels and normality after months of lockdown

Hugs and more freedom – the anticipation for Monday's relaxation of Covid rules is rising.

Sheila Allcock, Mo Cuss and Merryl Waddison chat at the market. Sheila said she was looking forward to sitting in a cafe again
Sheila Allcock, Mo Cuss and Merryl Waddison chat at the market. Sheila said she was looking forward to sitting in a cafe again

Shoppers and traders at Bloxwich market have spoken of their hopes and fears for the future as the country finally moves towards a hoped-for victory over coronavirus.

With vaccines making a dramatic impact on deaths and infection levels falling away, there is real hope for better times ahead – but also fears that our recovery might yet be knocked off track.

A raft of new restrictions are being relaxed, including pubs and other hospitality venues reopening, changes to the number of people allowed inside homes and people being allowed to hug again.

It meant for those shopping for bargains, out for a walk or having a socially distanced chat with friends in Bloxwich the possibility of seeing family and getting back to more normality.

Horace Bednall from New Invention said the lifting of more restrictions was a relief as long as people behaved themselves.

Horace Bednall said it was about time restrictions was lifted, as long as people behaved themselves

The 70-year-old said: "I think it's about time because for myself, suffering with a bit of OCD, as I hate wearing facemasks and look forward to not having to do so.

"I'm glad it's slowly coming back, so long as younger people behave themselves as you see them in crowds in the pub and on the beaches and they need to be aware of other people.

"I do think we're getting near the end of this and while we'll have to get a booster like the flu jab, but the vaccine has had such an effect when you see the death rates dropping.

"It's been a long time coming, but worth it in the end when you can see the number of lives being saved, so fingers crossed it keeps going on the way it is."

Not everyone shared Mr Bednall's view in the market, with some like Gary Hughes from Leamore still worried about future waves and lockdowns.

Gary Hughes said he expected case rates to go up again because of variants

The 48-year-old said: "I think the lifting of restrictions is fine, although I don't think it'll be long before we end up back in another lockdown as cases are going to rise.

"That'll mean going back to where we started as there's the Indian variant and the other variants that are likely to come into the country, plus the one we still have in this country.

"I'll be going out next week, but I'll be very careful to stay in my bubble and do what I've been doing before."

Traders at the market have also been keeping an eye on the lifting of restrictions ahead of next week as they anticipate being busier, as well as looking ahead to what they will be able to do.

Tarlochan Singh, who lives in Birmingham and sells clothing at the market, said he was feeling good about the lifting of restrictions.

Tarlochan Singh said he was looking forward to seeing his family

The 64-year-old said: "I'm very happy at the moment as I can see things improving and the restrictions are being lifted.

"I can possibly see an increase in cases going forwards, but I think the vaccine is working well enough to stop people getting ill from it.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my family and giving them a hug, so I think the lifting of the restrictions is a good thing."

Lorraine Wilkes from New Invention works in the market on the Caroline' Cards stall and said she was all for the lifting of restrictions.

The 58-year-old said: "I think people should have the choice of what they want to do and not do and use their own common sense.

Lorraine Wilkes and Caroline Wilkins enjoy a cuppa Caroline's cards. Lorraine said she and her husband had booked a hotel for their anniversary once the lifting of restrictions had been lifted

"I think we're going in the right direction and between the vaccines and people getting used to social distancing, I think we'll keep going in the right direction.

"My husband and I are planning to go away for our 39th anniversary and we've already booked a hotel, so I'm feeling happy and comfortable about things and looking forward to getting on with things."

The market has been a socially-distanced hub for people to meet up and enjoy a chat in a safe environment.

Sheila Allcock from Bloxwich was at the market with her friends Mo Cuss and Merryl Waddison for a meet-up and said she was excited to be able to meet indoors again.

Traders and shoppers at the market are mostly optimistic about the lifting of restrictions

The 83-year-old said: "I'm looking forward to hugging people again and being able to go into a cafe with my friends to sit down indoors, which we haven't been able to do for a long time.

"I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren and it'll be nice to see them and give them a big hug, so this is a good time for me.

"The vaccinations have really helped as I've had both of them and I feel safer than at any time before."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News