SHOPS in Tenbury are having a miserable time and in the short term the arrival of a vaccine is feared to be making things worse.

Many shops that do not sell essential items are closed for the third time in less than a year.

But Garry Thompson who runs Mr Thoms in the town centre says that in some ways those that have been forced to close by the Government are in a better position.

He is set to start doing video sessions from his shop and chocolate factory to show people what goes on and says that businesses are having to use technology more.

But whilst he says the vaccine is a good thing, it is hitting business at what is always a tough time of the year.

“There are a large number of older people living in and around Tenbury and because they now know that there is a vaccine on the way they are tending to stay at home until they have had the jab,” said Mr Thompson.

“That is understandable, but it is not good news for shops that are having a hard time anyway.”

He hopes that as people become vaccinated they will feel safer getting out and about.

Mr Thompson said that the run up to Christmas when there were reduced restrictions in December was ‘not too bad’ but that this year has been ‘very slow’ so far.

Two key dates coming up are Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day and if businesses are not able to operate properly by then it will be another blow Mr Thompson said.

The man who has invested heavily in his shop and chocolate factory, has diversified and is now selling essentials like milk sausages and bacon.

He is also reaping the rewards of a website that enables people to shop online.

“Businesses are being forced to diversify and embrace technology to survive,” he added.

Being forced to close by the Government has entitled some shops to have access to a wide range of support but it has been more complex for those that have been allowed to stay open but where trade is way down.

“It is very difficult for some businesses where they still have the costs like rent but are taking very little money,” Mr Thompson added.

“A cafe may be allowed to open to sell the odd takeaway coffee but cannot operate properly.

“There is some help for businesses that have not been forced to close but have lost trade but it can involve a lot of complex form filling.”

He fears that another critical time will be when the repayments start on the ‘bounce back loans’ that have enabled some businesses to borrow up to £50,000.

“It is going to be very difficult when the repayments start if the businesses that has taken on the borrowing is not trading fully,” he added. For some the repayments will start as soon as May when the payment free period ends.