Business owners in Cockermouth are unbowed by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and are happy to report that customers are coming out to support them - in a safe way.

Manon Plouffe, owner of The Wild Zucchinis Bistro on Station Street, Cockermouth is staying positive despite losing 50 per cent of his custom due to the Rule of Six.

Manon said: “It’s very difficult. We can’t accommodate the footfall because of the measures we’ve had to put in place.

“But we’ve worked very hard to make sure we follow the guidelines by the book. We’ve had to increase the staff in order to follow the procedures.”

Residents of the town have rallied behind the valued independent business.

Manon said: “We’re very grateful to our local customers and our community. I can’t fault our customers and regulars. They have stayed loyal to us. That is quite touching."

The bistro began offering deliveries and collections during the height of lockdown restrictions to adapt under difficult circumstances.

Manon said: “That’s what keeps us going really, in the long term I don’t know what it’s going to look like.

“What we’ve entered is a world where we need to reinvent ourselves.”

An uncertain Christmas period lies ahead for restaurants and businesses following numerous fluctuations in coronavirus restrictions.

“We’re just trying to be creative to keep going and keep the momentum.”

Customers are respecting Covid-19 regulations at the bistro though, said Manon. “People are quite amenable but the mask wearing in restaurants, people are still not used to it.”

Nicola Myers, of Silloth, has also been forced to adjust her business during the pandemic.

The owner of The Fruit and Veg Box Company said: “Before lockdown I was in the farmers' markets and at the Barrow and Whitehaven hospitals. I basically lost by business overnight.

“Even though my business has been running for five years when lockdown hit I had to really adjust.”

Nicola now offers locally-sourced produce and food directly to people’s homes across Cumbria. The service was a saving grace to many elderly and vulnerable people during the height of lockdown.

Nicola usually runs the business full-time on her own but during lockdown nine friends volunteered to help with deliveries.

“We buy from local producers and farms. It’s all free range.”

Nicola is trying to protect the environment, in keeping with the green ethos: “We try and reduce our carbon footprint and miles.”

The business also avoids single use plastics wherever possible.

More products are now available including curry, tea and coffee from Cumbrian providers.

To make an order contact Nicola on 07769 904663.

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