MANY of Bradford’s non-essential shops remained open today to enjoy a final day of trading before the latest lockdown restrictions become law – but the city’s streets have fallen quiet as many shoppers heed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ‘stay at home’ message.

Despite the quiet streets, some shops, such as Supersave Carpets on Leeds Road, and Wren Kitchens, in Forster Square Retail Park, remained open today.

Meanwhile, two of Bradford’s shopping centres have revealed which stores plan to stay open through lockdown in their essential capacity.

"We will be open for essential retailers," said Catherine Riley, centre manager of the Kirkgate Centre.

The Kirkgate shops to remain open are Kirkgate Pharmacy, One Below, Boyes, Greggs, Max Spielmann, Poundland, Timpson, Ramsdens, Pound Bakery and Eurochange. Hays Travel will remain open as click and collect only.

"Our phones have been ringing off the hook this morning with people asking which retailers will remain open," said Catherine Riley. "People just want to know.

"I think we were anticipating a lockdown announcement would be happening but we didn't know when. A lot of people weren't expecting the announcement to be made last night."

She said with most of the country under Tier 4 restrictions, she had expected that Bradford would soon fall under national restrictions.

"It will make it easy for people by making the rules national," said Catherine. "Otherwise it's confusing for people.

"Bradford has been doing relatively well, but you have to keep people safe. That is the priority."

Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway, said: “The safety of our customers, colleagues and the communities we serve remains our priority and following the Government announcement of the new national restrictions, retailers within The Broadway, Bradford will be temporarily closing from Wednesday, January 6.

“The car parking facilities will remain open alongside essential retailers M&S, Superdrug, Boots, Vision Express, Holland & Barrett, Sainsbury, Poundland, WHSmith’s and Specsavers . “We will continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving situation of Covid-19 and will ensure we are adhering to all Government guidance. We will update our website should the situation develop “Unlike the first lockdown in March, there is hope on the horizon as the vaccine rolls out. This is a national and global pandemic - we are not alone in our challenges. We’ll emerge stronger as a city and The Broadway will take back its place as the heart of the community.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak this morning announced businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive a grant worth up to £9,000. But he stopped short of extending the business rates holiday, which ends in April.

"We'd been eagerly awaiting what the Chancellor had to say about support for businesses," said Catherine. "The measures put in place are extremely welcome and will be a boost for businesses.

"But at the moment, the holiday for business rates runs until the new financial year in April and we'd been hoping that would be extended into the new financial year. That would have been top of my wish list.

"If the lockdown continues beyond February, businesses will need more assistance."

She added: "I also hope they roll out this vaccine as quickly as possible. We have to be optimistic with the vaccine, but it will take time.

"People have to do all the things we've been asked to do like wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and staying home."

Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) manager Jonny Noble said: “We’re certain that the businesses within the BID demise area in Bradford city centre will understand why the Government has introduced the latest measures and will do everything in their power to support them. However, that will do little to lessen the blow for those who must shut up shop again such a very short time after re-opening their doors.

“We fully expect that the Government will recognise the very real difficulties they are facing and take steps to ensure businesses are properly supported through this lockdown and the announcement of a £4.6 billion relief package for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors is an important step that will be widely welcomed.

“It will help many businesses to get through the coming months but it may not be enough to save others and we hope the Chancellor will recognise that more support is needed in the longer term.

“As a BID, we will continue to lobby on our members’ behalf, and we will work to support and advise businesses as well as to share guidance and developments as they occur and to help those who can remain open to do so as safely as possible.

“We will also use the next few weeks to further cement our plans to bring people back to the city centre to support local businesses when it is safe to do so.

“We sincerely hope the vaccine roll-out gathers speed and that by spring we will be able to start driving footfall back into the city centre and help get businesses back on their feet at the earliest opportunity.”

However, the Chancellor stopped short of extending the business rates holiday, which ends in April, and there was no update on furlough and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).