Businesses look ahead to easing of restrictions

Skin To Love clinic in Chequer Street, St Albans.

Skin To Love clinic in Chequer Street, St Albans. - Credit: Google Street View

The city's independent businesses are desperate to learn the Prime Minister's plans for coming out of the latest lockdown, due to be revealed on Monday, in order to better prepare for when they are allowed to reopen.

Tony Earley, of Earleys boutique in George Street, said: "The third lockdown has made life hard. The stop-start nature of the lockdown means we have a considerable amount of stock left , we have gone online and I have done personal Zoom styling sessions for a couple of customers, and we had a few sales for Valentine's. However I would like clear and decisive dates for the end of lockdown as suppliers wish to deliver spring [outfits] and I have declined so far.”

Jane Lewis, owner of The Skin to Love Clinic in Chequer Street, agreed: “The third lockdown is of course demoralising for all businesses, but we have a responsibility to help stop the spread of Covid and to keep our staff and clients safe.

"We’ve taken this as an opportunity to continue learning, improve the business and to keep up to date with the ever-evolving aesthetics industry that we’re in so that we come back even stronger than we were before.

"Currently, we’re supporting our clients online and we’re able to offer video consultations to those who wish to discuss their skin and possible treatments in preparation for when we can safely reopen.”

Mike Nuttall of Must Wine in George Street said: “We have worked tirelessly since March last year to always delivery new and exciting products for local residents to enjoy. Our weekly online tastings have been loved far and wide and have proved a real winner…for family, friends, companies and just because! For more details please just email the team at and also help us a little to get through the really challenging period of lockdown three."

Antonia Mason, from Books on the Hill, said they have spent this lockdown ensuring the shop has an interesting and engaging online presence through their website and social media accounts.  

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"We have been organising a wide variety of events from book clubs to author talks to family friendly book quizzes. Our latest book quiz for Bloomsbury’s seventh annual Harry Potter Book Night had an incredible 80-plus participants. This fun event provided both children and adults with an engaging evening of Harry Potter trivia.

"The shops has lots of author events lined up in the next few weeks. On Friday February 26 we have a wonderful event planned with author Nadine Matheson to talk about her new crime/thriller book ‘The Jigsaw Man’. Throughout March we also a number of author talks planned, for more details please see our website.

"Some of our social media posts have been taking bookselling to the extreme with some winter wild swimming and wonderful woodland walks. We have also posted some great author content onto our Instagram page.

"For LGBTQ history month, children’s author Sarah Hagger-Holt read a snippet from her latest book ‘Proud of Me’ to post onto our Instagram, her book covers discussions for children around LGBTQ themes. We have also been posting regularly on our website blog with weekly blog posts and book recommendations from all our staff."