BUSINESSES have spoken of their fear that Bradford could go into lockdown again because of a surge in coronavirus cases.

According to national news outlets, Bradford is on a Government “watch list” of places where local lockdowns could be required if more targeted measures fail to get to grips with fresh coronavirus spikes.

The Daily Telegraph reported that there is now mounting concern over areas in the Midlands and North with large minority populations and Whitehall insiders said that Bradford, the city with the second highest rate of infection after Leicester, was being closely monitored.

Sky News reported that sources in Public Health England and the Department for Health had said Bradford could be the next to lock down.

But this presents yet another challenge for businesses - some of which have only been open for a couple of weeks and others which are preparing to re-open on Saturday when lockdown measures are eased further. 

Craig Chapman-Blackwell, who runs C&H Hair & Nails in the centre of Wibsey, has spent thousands of pounds on making his business Covid secure in time for July 4, but fears another lockdown could be "disastrous". 

He said: "I think it's absolutely horrendous, especially the cost of what we've gone to at the salon. 

"It's more like a hospital ward than a salon now. We've gone to a lot of expense to prepare.

"It could be disastrous. At the end of the day, I've still got to pay my overheads at my salon.

"If they do this to us again, I've got a feeling a lot of businesses will go under.

"We've still got bills to pay, we've got bills at home, at business premises.

"There's no security anywhere. I think it's just crippling people - I know it is.

"We can't go on like this. It will be four months when we get back - that's a long time."

But, he said he felt lockdown had been eased too quickly and people are now acting "normal".

Darren Grayshon, who runs We Love Balloons in Wibsey and Halifax, re-opened when lockdown restrictions were eased a couple of weeks ago. 

He said he felt the Government eased things too early, but said: "Businesses on their knees are just getting started again.

"It's really very tough. It's heartbreaking for so many people and businesses who after such a length of time will face more hardship including us, it seems never ending."

Peter Down, Chair of Bradford CAMRA, said he hoped a second lockdown would not happen, given that Bradford is quite a way behind Leicester, where fresh lockdown measures have been imposed.

But, he said: "If we do, then obviously it's going to hit everybody very hard.

"The pubs, a lot of them are getting ready for opening up, if not this Saturday, at least some time later this month. 

"The first lockdown has already hit pubs hard. They were looking at where if they did not get open in July, many of them were saying they might not survive.

"If we have to go through a second lockdown, it potentially could be the final blow for some pubs.

"They might not re-open after this.  They are uncertain times anyway.

"Nobody knows, with the new rules, quite how it's going to go and quite how it's going to affect their customer base.

"There are a lot of people saying they are still not confident about going out and I fully respect that. 

"It remains to be seen how it pans out on Saturday."

The Broadway recently re-opened to non-essential shopping when lockdown measures were eased and has introduced a suite of measures to adapt to the challenges presented by Covid-19.

Ian Ward, General Manager at The Broadway, Bradford, said: “The Broadway will continue to adhere to government guidance to ensure that the health and safety of staff and customers is maintained to the highest level possible.

“We’ve worked hard over the past few weeks, alongside our retailers, to create a welcoming environment that is safe. It would therefore be disappointing if the city was to go back into lockdown as we’ve only recently established the ‘new normal’.

“That said, the health and safety of all staff and customers continues to be of paramount importance and we will implement all necessary measures to ensure this.”