'Don't leave Preston shopkeepers footing the bill for cancelled Christmas', councillor appeals

A Preston city councillor is appealing to people not to leave local food retailers holding the turkey - or any other unwanted produce - because of last-minute changes to their Christmas plans.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 4:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 9:46 pm

Liberal Democrat group leader John Potter says he fears that this year’s foreshortened festivities could hit traders hard after an already torrid year.

Until just last weekend, the rules for Tier 3 Lancashire meant that it was going to be possible for up to three households to mix for five days over the Christmas period - although local public health leaders had already urged caution.

However, the government has now slashed the scope for gathering to just Christmas Day itself - and Lancashire’s director of public health has warned that there is “no single scientific reason to make us believe that it is okay to mix during Christmas time, even for a day”, urging residents to “think twice” before doing so.

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Butcher Sam Livesey at his counter in Preston Markets during the national "Fiver Fest" campaign in October 2020

Cllr Potter says that the deteriorating health situation could have a knock-on effect on retailers if people decide that they no longer need the food that they have ordered.

“I’d ask people to honour their orders if they are able to - and then use the food in a different way.

“So if my household doesn’t eat all of the turkey, we’ll make a curry out of the leftovers.

“The big supermarkets will be fine - but Christmas is key to independent retailers in any year, especially this one.

Cllr John Potter is worried local food retailers could suffer if customers do not honour their Christmas orders

“This really could be do or die for some of our local businesses,” the Cadley ward councillor warned.

Preston Markets-based butcher Sam Livesey says he is relying on the “goodwill” of customers to collect the orders that they have placed - more than 700 of them in total, some of which have already been cancelled or amended.

“It’s a nervous time for us - we have worked really hard on those orders and we really don't want people just to say, ‘I’m not going to bother now this year’.

“But our customers are like a big family, so I'm hoping we'll be okay. The last thing I want is to be left with a load of turkeys.

“And we can always suggest how to make it work for people - so if you have ordered a full turkey, but don’t need it now, we can cut the legs off or split it in half and you can freeze some of it.

“Christmas is still special - I know it will be different this year, but you still want the best,” Sam added.