Ledbury businesses and organisations responded to the looming lockdown this week with a mixture of optimism, frustration, resignation and dread.

As much of the High Street braced itself for a month without trade, late night shopping came early to many stores, over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

With it came the hope that the second big shut-down, due to Covid, would be over by early December, to catch the Advent trade.

One of the shops staying open late this week was the jewellers, Past and Present, and owner Annette Crowe said: "Please God, let it be no longer than a month! This is destroying the economy and the High Street is the heart of any community.

"The mood is depressing; a lot of stores will offer click and collect and others will be trying to get that sorted; but it's hard, because of the short notice."

Mrs Crowe, a former chairman of the Ledbury Traders' Association added: "It's the new businesses I feel sorry for, because they have been affected twice now, and you need the Christmas build up to get you through the first few months of the New Year.

"This is worst time for a lockdown, definitely, and we will also really miss our customers too."

The Talbot Hotel in New Street responded to the countdown to the lockdown by offering cask ales for £2 a pint, while other businesses, including Cafe 1, in Bye Street, and Choccotastic in the Homend announced plans on social media for a take away service during the lockdown.

An optimistic note was struck by The Feathers Hotel in the High Street.

A spokesman for the Feathers told The Reporter: "Business picked straight back up at the end of the last lockdown and the hotel, which plays such an important part in the community life of the town, has enjoyed a busy summer and autumn.

"Preparations for Christmas are now well advanced and the team are already looking forward to welcoming everyone back, just as soon as the new lockdown is over."

But there was disappointment at the town's only theatre, The Market Theatre, where a "dummy run" to test extensive new measures, with a view to re-opening, had to be postponed until at least next month, because of the lockdown.

Group and organisations offering essential support in the community have flagged up with fact they will still be operating during the lockdown, including Ledbury's Ring and Ride, which plans to continue "doing prescription collections and providing a shopping service for people isolating".

And Day Lewis the chemists, in Bye Street, has sent a text to customers which states: "Our teams at Day Lewis have been with you throughout the pandemic and will remain open for all your pharmacy essentials during the lockdown."

In keeping with national guidelines, during the 'new normal', schools will remain open during the lockdown.

When asked about this, Andy Evans, headteacher at the John Masefield High School said that as a headteacher he was "required to be politically neutral in any public statements", but he added: "The challenges in running the school, whilst the country is in lockdown are considerable, and we will be outlining additional measures."

Ledbury Town Council staff are working from home, but still very much active and putting lockdown measures in place.

This week, the town council announced the closure of the outdoor fitness equipment and skate park at the Recreation Ground. But the playgrounds will remain open, in keeping with Government guidance.