Kerbside and take-out business brisk
Retail stores and restaurants welcomed business back yesterday after they were allowed to open for the first time after the Government stay-at-home order was lifted.
Many businesses that were given the go-ahead to carry out kerbside pick-up and delivery services came back to a slew of customers, while restaurants remained hopeful that delivery numbers would pick up later in the week.
Paula Clarke, the CEO of Gibbons Company, said that the department store had been “very busy” catching up on a week’s worth of online orders.
She added: "We’re actually hoping it will grow – our experience last year after we came out of shelter-in-place was that we were extremely busy.“
The store, located between Reid Street and Church Street in Hamilton, had been delivering orders since lunchtime while staff covered kerbside pick-up at their Church Street entrance between 3pm and 6pm.
Ms Clarke said that she could not say how many orders they received, but added that they had received more orders than normal because people had no choice but to shop online.
She added: “We fulfilled a huge amount of orders today and we’re looking forward to getting more orders overnight, where our teams will be in ready to fulfil them tomorrow morning.”
Kyle Parkin, the owner of the pet store Pic-a-Pet, said that they had been busy giving food and supplies to around 100 pet owners who went without their services for a week.
He said: “I was getting calls and e-mails every single day during the lockdown – it was difficult to hear these scared people because they love their animals as much as they love their children.
“We were just trying to give advice on what they could use to feed animals – the vets grocery stores were open people could make food for larger animals, but you can’t always find food for, say, a fish.”
Mr Parkin said that much of his business came from people who bought items through the Sargasso Sea delivery service.
Mr Parkin also admitted that kerbside pick-up was a challenge because they had to haul heavy items to the front of the store.
But he added: “We do understand the safety measures that we need to abide by.”
Permitted businesses were allowed to be open from 7am to 7pm. Restaurants were allowed delivery and take-out services only.
Jay Correia, the owner of Swizzle Inn in Hamilton, said that business had been good throughout the day, but “dropped right off to nothing” around 3pm.
He added that, whilst it was encouraging to see take-out orders come in, it was “nowhere near the volume we need” to make up for the lost time.
He said: “After coming back from nothing, we’re happy for something – but that ’something’ isn’t as substantial as we need it to be.”
He added that he hoped to see more business over the weekend and after restrictions relaxed – especially before summer.
The manager of Bone Fish Bar & Grill, who asked not to be named, said that business had been a bit slow during lunchtime.
But he added that he expected thing to pick up later in the week after more people were comfortable going out.
The manager also said: “We’re just happy to be open and we’re happy to progress and do what we have to do.
“The staff are happy to be back at work and they’re willing to do the very best that they can for people.”