Businesses in Epsom have described the massive impact the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had on their companies as lockdown measures are eased in the area.

Many retailers in the borough were severely impacted by the rapid spread of Covid-19 in April and May, particularly as a result of the crucial quarantine rules created to prevent virus transmission.

Only since the government announced an easing of those lockdown restrictions have retailers in Epsom been able to tentatively approach more normal practices like welcoming back staff members on site.

One of those is Cafe Moka, who serve drinks and food out of the Ashley Centre in town.

"It’s great to be back and supporting the community, we’ve missed our customers very much!" Owner David Iesini said.

"We used the lockdown to find out what else customers wanted and we are looking forward to hearing what people think of this new addition to our menu," he added.

Indeed, the cafe have added new items including smoothies to their repertoire after reworking the menu during lockdown.

Iesini said that the Moka had been closed for 14 weeks prior to its recent reopening and that their staff had been on furlough.

"We are grateful to have received a grant and the furlough scheme has also been extremely helpful," he said.

Other businesses praised support from the community in getting them through the hardest moments of coronavirus so far.

Among them were Hatty's Sweet Shop, who were also forced to close.

"We offered online and local deliveries, I am so grateful to the local community for supporting us during this difficult time as we had to shut down the physical shop in the Ashley Centre," Founder Hatty said.

She added that staff there had also been furloughed and that the scheme had been integral to the continued existence of the indie sweet shop.

"The support measures have helped enormously... we wouldn’t be here now without them," she said.

Caroline Starr of Spiritual Quest in Epsom concurred:

"It impacted us massively as our physical store was closed ...We did have to furlough most of the team and we are bringing back the team slowly," she said.

"Government support has had a massive impact, we wouldn’t have survived without it!"

Meanwhile, other businesses in the area saw unexpected silver linings to their trading during a pandemic.

One of those was Epsom's GuitarGuitar music store, who told the Comet how their sales of guitars had continued handsomely during lockdown.

This Is Local London: GuitarGuitar in Epsom said many people had turned to them in lockdown in the hopes of using the time to learn an instrument. Image: Patrick Martin/GoogleGuitarGuitar in Epsom said many people had turned to them in lockdown in the hopes of using the time to learn an instrument. Image: Patrick Martin/Google

"Fortunately for us it was actually a good time in the sense that many people had all this free time off and a lot of them decided to start their adventure of learning an instrument for the first time," Guitar Salesman Simon said.

"We had a skeleton team working in store to do orders during lockdown, just for or five of us, it was a bit strange but doable for us," he added.

That is not to say the guitar specialists have not been forced to adapt.

Now out of lockdown, the usual routine of allowing all browsers to come in-store and play instruments is being discouraged in favour of booking appointments, all to minimize the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

"We're encouraging booking, limiting numbers of people in-store a bit and also to discourage people from coming in just to play guitars because we would have to quarantine and clean the instruments," Simon said, adding that people can still come into play a guitar ahead of buying it "if they're serious!"