Chip shop sales plunge as King's Lynn Town F.C. play behind closed doors at The Walks
Saturday afternoons are normally a hive of activity for a fish and chip shop located within walking distance of Lynn's football stadium-but the weekend proved just how unprecedented these times are for local businesses.
The Crossings on Tennyson Road would normally sell a quarter of a tonne of chips when King's Lynn Town F.C. are playing at The Walks.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Linnets played their first National League fixture behind closed doors on Saturday, which resulted in the fish and chip business seeing sales fall by around 75 per cent.
In normal circumstances the shop would have four staff working on matchdays but this was reduced to two on Saturday with no spectators coming in for their pre-match chips and dinner afterwards.
Owner John Redman said: "From the chip shop, you can normally hear the crowd roaring and chanting so it was actually quite spooky just to have it silent but seeing the floodlights switched on and the television towers.
"We had the game on the TV in the shop so to not have the cheering and crowd supporting was not nice at all. We can't wait for it to get back to normal, not just for the business but for the club as well."
The owner added that the business is doing enough to stay afloat with a new delivery service transporting hot food to residents in the PE30 postcode area.
A young lad has been hired to deliver the food on his electric bike but Mr Redman is ensuring the service does not branch out beyond the local area so that customers are receiving hot meals.
During lockdown, Mr Redman initially delivered the food himself in his car to the regular customers who were self-isolating.
The business is signed up to online ordering company Just Eat so there has been a surge in deliveries and telephone calls.
Mr Redman said the shop is still seeing its regular pensioners on Saturday lunchtimes but it is nowhere near the levels of turnover when the football crowds arrive.
The owner added: "We took £800 to £1,000 when normally we would have four staff on all day to cope with the crowds as they go in and out before and after the match.
"We are managing but obviously to have a home match when they [The Linnets] have gone up a league with bigger crowds would have been very nice.
"The deliveries are keeping us afloat even if it is at zero point at the end of the year. We are just surviving the same as any other business."
King's Lynn Town officials would have expected an attendance in excess of 2,000 in normal circumstances on Saturday for the fixture against Yeovil Town following promotion to the National League.
Writing to fans ahead of the match, chairman Stephen Cleeve said: "I do want to put on record how sad I am for you the fans, I was genuinely moved personally as I walked around the stadium on Monday afternoon and thought about today [Saturday] and how you guys will not be here to share this moment.
"I cannot sum up the words that give justice to how everyone must feel, I did even toy with the idea of not coming myself today and I know that whatever happens there will be a huge feeling of sadness within me that you are not with us."