'Frustration' for business owners affected by Welsh lockdown

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Gloucestershire residents who own businesses in the Welsh town of Chepstow say they are frustrated at having to close again after Wales announced another full lockdown. 

The town sits right on the border, with many of those who live or work there regularly crossing between the two countries.

The new rules, which come into force on Friday, mean some businesses will have to shut while their homes in England remain unaffected.

Gemma Piccirilli runs a beauty salon in Chepstow and lives just over the border in Tutshill, Gloucestershire. It takes her just 10 minutes to walk over the Wye Bridge into work.

She fears losing out financially, but she also worries about the mental wellbeing of her clients who depend on their appointments for human contact and conversation.

"Being forced to close is financially detrimental. I've never felt like I live on a border so much as I do now. It feels so different. Come Friday the rules are going to be drastically different. It's hard to get your head around really".

Extra support has been promised for businesses affected by the two-week lockdown, but there is concern over the longer-term impact.

Paula Avery runs a bakery on the same street in Chepstow and has only been open for two weeks. She said her suppliers will still need to be paid during the lockdown and even though she can still operate some parts of the business, she will lose out by the closure of nearby shops.

"The business that was here before us didn't open back up from lockdown and I saw a need within Chepstow for a business like that to operate again. But I don't know how long I can close for and still pay employees, still pay suppliers."

Paula, who runs The Pantry, says she's worried about the future of her business. Credit: ITV Westcountry

Wales will enter a strict two-week national lockdown from 6pm on Friday 23 October, the Welsh Government confirmed.

The so-called circuit-breaker or fire-break lockdown will include the half-term holiday and will end on Monday 9 November.

The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, described it as as a "short, sharp shock" to try and halt the second wave of coronavirus ahead of the winter.

These new restrictions replace the current local lockdown measures and will look similar to the first national lockdown back in March.

The new lockdown rules at a glance:

  • People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes

  • People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with

  • Certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops, must close

  • Secondary schools will provide learning online only for the week after half-term, other than for children in years 7 and 8. Primary schools and childcare settings will remain open.

  • Face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis.