There With You: Ottery businesses do best to adapt amid Covid-19 outbreak

Ref Chris Abbott outside his shop in Ottery St Mary. sho 06 18TI 7226. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref Chris Abbott outside his shop in Ottery St Mary. sho 06 18TI 7226. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery businesses are doing their best to adapt, offering take-away services and delivery to those who need it most.

Chris Abbott, of Abbott’s DIY, in Jesu Street, Ottery, has spoken to the Herald on how his and many other businesses in the town are coping in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak

He said: “This is the biggest crisis we will face in our lifetime, as residents and as a business. It is unprecedented. It is really scary.

“The country has shut down for however long and that has a massive economic impact at the end of day we need to be open to make money and pay our staff’s wages and support ourselves, but the health of my staff, customers and my family comes first.”

Mr Abbott said both his wife and his brother, who was also his business partner, are asthmatic.

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He added: “We have been introducing all sorts of measures over the past month to minimise the risk – like regularly washing hands, antibacing public areas and card machines as well as requesting contactless pay.

“We are now offering free home deliveries in Ottery and Seaton where our other shop is.

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“We have a large number of over 70s in Ottery who maybe be told to self-isolate for up to three months.”

He said from the Chancellor’s announcement to temporarily abolish business rates was huge relief for him and many other independent businesses in the area.

He added: “It will help us immensely because that was our biggest overhead, we are lucky that we own the building so now our biggest overhead is paying our staffs’ wages.”

Mr Abbott said, looking around Ottery he could see how hard everyone was trying.

He added: “A lot of local businesses are now doing a takeaway or delivery service.

“Everyone is trying to adapt best they can so they can help others while also trying to keep a float themselves.

“These kind of situations bring out the best and worst in humanity but in Devon it is all about community spirit and helping each other.”

Abbott’s DIY is closed to customers but is still offering deliveries.

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