‘We’re hanging on’ - Golders Green business owners on reopening

Jamshid Orodpour (Left) and his wife Fahimeh working the shift at Cafe Persia.

Jamshid Orodpour (Left) and his wife Fahimeh working the shift at Cafe Persia. - Credit: Joey Grostern

Traders in Golders Green have welcomed the easing of restrictions since April 12 - but many have concerns about the challenges still to come.

Under the current government roadmap out of lockdown, indoor hospitality will reopen on May 17, and June 21 could see all legal limits on social contact removed.

The Ham&High visited businesses across Golders Green and Temple Fortune on a sunny Friday to see how they have fared since reopening.

At Israeli restaurant Balady, brothers Lion 32 and Sagiv Sabbo 26, said they were very much looking forward to June 21.

They have been open for takeaway and delivery, but Sagiv said: “During the lockdown we were less happy to work because people don’t come in anymore and sit and talk with us.

“We opened a restaurant to see people eat.”

Sagiv Sabbo, one of the managers of Balady, in Temple Fortune Lane

Sagiv Sabbo, one of the managers of Balady, in Temple Fortune Lane - Credit: Joey Grostern

Lion expressed frustrations with the current extent of restrictions, saying: “What’s the difference between sitting in a barber shop and sitting in my restaurant?"

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He questioned why people can swim in a pool together, yet they can't sit and eat together.

“We’re very upset about this,” he said.

Jamshid Orodpour, 58, owner of Café Persia, was glad to be able to serve customers again.

He said: “Now we try to serve outside, but it’s a small space and nobody comes. Before, we were open for takeaway and delivery, but it was too slow, too sad.

“Now it’s gradually getting back to normal and we’re happy because we’re moving.”

Jamie Gold, 39, the owner of Gold’s Menswear, a family business with a long history in the area, was feeling less optimistic about the future of his business.   

About the pandemic, he said: “It’s disastrous, I don’t really know what to say.”

He said reopening doesn’t make up for the loss of trade, adding: “it’s just literally a survival job at the moment.”

he said that the pandemic hit his business especially hard as they provide one-to-one tailor services for menswear.

He said: “We’re hanging on, I think we can weather the storm, but the government and Barnet [Council], they’ve destroyed us. Until furloughs finished and landlords can’t throw tenants out, you can’t see where the economy is.

“Beginning of next year I think people are going to be completely crippled.”

Gold's Menswear in Golders Green

Gold's Menswear in Golders Green - Credit: Joey Grostern

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