High street businesses in the East fear low footfall will further damage recovery

The NHS has warned that new coronavirus restrictions may be needed ahead of the winter because of those rising virus rates and that's got many businesses worried.

Businesses in Norwich told ITV News Anglia that customers, particularly office workers, are not returning and Government support must continue in next week's budget.

Stuart Saunders, who owns Shears Hair Design, said the walk-in trade from office workers still isn't back to pre covid levels and his business was on the brink.

"My fear is losing my livelihood that I've had now for 40 years. I think that if I wasn't doing this I don't think there'd be any reason to carry on in the trade I'm in," he said.

"I can't see the point in leaving my business and going to another shop because I know they're going to be slow as well so it's a Catch 22," Stuart Saunders added.

Just up the road, Irene Astley has had her shoe shop, Imelda's Shoe Boutique, for 27 years.

She will be keeping a close eye on the Budget next week, and is hoping that business rates relief will continue. That would give the high street a chance, she said.

Irene Astley would like to see Government support for the high street continue Credit: ITV Anglia

"I think that could be extended to assist because things aren't back to normal and we need all the help we can get if you want to maintain a good interesting high street, which Norwich really does," Irene Astley said.

The boss of the city's Business Improvement District, Stefan Gurney, is in agreement and is calling for a full review of the business rates system.

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director of the Norwich Business Improvement District Credit: ITV Anglia

"It needs to change. It's not fit for purpose any more. The online sales versus bricks and mortar rates is just not reflective of how people trade and work any more," Stefan Gurney said.