“Many more” High Street businesses could fail if there are any new enforced closures because of lockdowns this year, a Romsey businessman has warned.

Business owners across Romsey have voiced their fears over the prospect of a short “circuit breaker” or new national lockdown in a bid to drive down coronavirus cases.

Earlier this week Wales announced a two-week “firebreak period” or “circuit breaker” starting from 6pm today (October 23), which means people there must stay home, except for very limited purposes.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for a similar measure in England, after it was recommended by scientific advisers to the Government last month.

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But the Government is continuing to pursue a system of local lockdowns, from Tier 1-3.

Owner of Superbook in The Hundred, Peter Bell, fears any new lockdown would force some shops to permanently shut.

He said: “As we approach Christmas, which for us and many retailers is a crucial time of the year, any enforced closure - whether a circuit breaker or national lockdown - would have a huge negative impact.

“Sales in the eight weeks or so between November 1 and Christmas Eve account for a substantial proportion of our annual sales.”

Romsey Advertiser: The Hundred, RomseyThe Hundred, Romsey

A lockdown at this time of year would be “much more serious” than the lockdown earlier this year, he said.

He added: “I can understand the Government being reluctant to order a further lockdown, as it would lead to many more high street businesses folding.

“This in turn would further weaken many town centres already suffering from closed shops and send unemployment figures much higher.”

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Owner of That Little Tea Shop in The Hundred, Jackie Clemo, said even a circuit breaker lockdown would be disappointing.

She said: “In the tea shop we are doing absolutely everything we can to ensure customer safety.

“We are very lucky we have got really good regulars who have supported us while we have been rebuilding the business and that may be snatched away from us with another lockdown.”

When asked about the Government imposing another national lockdown, the 59-year-old added she “would be devastated”, but said the business would “abide by the rules”.

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But one Romsey business owner would support a so-called circuit breaker shutdown if it will help stamp out Covid-19, even though talk of a lockdown was making things “tough” for her.

Owner of Images for Life, Helen Rushton, said: “I would rather have a circuit breaker as long as the evidence supports that it will work and so people remember there is a pandemic on; we all have a responsibility to keep others safe.”