Businesses in Powys fear that they face a "very real threat of losing it all" as the second lockdown gets under way.

Shops, pubs, bars and restaurants will close for 17 days today after the Welsh Government announced a fire break lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus.

But business owners have admitted they fear the impact of the plans on their businesses.

Cheryl Griffiths, owner of Newtown fancy dress shop RUSH, said Wales risks "losing the heart and soul of every small community" by the restrictions.

She said: "I started this business 22 years ago on the street market with a budget of £500. For 22 years, I put my heart and soul into it. We’ve survived recessions and the collapse of the High Street by constantly adapting and diversifying. This year has stopped us dead in our tracks. No prom season, no wedding season, no festival season, no parties, no theatre productions, no dance competitions.

"We thought we could claw it back for Halloween but now that has been snatched away too. We can’t even open our doors.

"We are a face-to-face business, our customers are our friends, we’ve laughed together and cried together, yet here we are facing the very real threat of losing it all, a whole lifetime of work, a whole lifetime of those special moments with the community we belong to. 

"For us, as with all the other small retailers, it’s so much more than just a job. I hope we make it through."

County Times:

Gareth Burns

Gym and pub owner Gareth Burns from Newtown said the Welsh Government's focus is on the wrong businesses and does not consider the effects of his customers' mental wellbeing.

Although he agrees that Castle Vault and other pubs should close because controlling drunk people is difficult, he said gyms like N-MAC have "gone above and beyond" to be coronavirus compliant for almost 400 members.

"It's going to effect both businesses heavily. It's frustrating. Gyms are one of the safest places in the UK and they're still going to close us down.

"It's an essential business. We've had members of the gym who have almost had mental breakdowns from it because it's their only form of release and we care about our members more than anything.

"We need to fight it. For the next lockdown, the Welsh Government needs to understand how important physical activity is.

County Times: Mark Drakeford. (11759589)

"I think Mr Drakeford is a little out of touch and doesn't quite understand the effects on 18 to 60 years olds; he's caring for the 85 year olds, which we all do, and he's forgetting about the people who are keeping the country going. 

"It doesn't make sense."