The extreme heatwave is causing people to stay at home, according to business owners in central Lincoln as the city records 40℃ temperatures for the first time ever.
On Tuesday, July 19, Lincoln experienced the highest temperature ever recorded in the city before, as 40°C was clocked at around 2pm, off the back of the Met Office’s red warning for extreme heat – a first for UK weather.
Lincolnshire has been badly affected by this. Some schools have closed, the East Coast Main Line has been cancelled, bin collections have either been brought forward or postponed, and councils have been calling severe weather emergency protocols to help rough sleepers find accommodation.
Business has also been affected, with many saying that footfall has reduced over the last couple of days due to people not coming out shopping and staying away from the heat.
The High Street was notably quiet on Tuesday, just as the hottest temperature ever was confirmed in Lincoln, Lincolnshire and the country.
Lincoln hit 40°C for the first time in history, as did other Lincolnshire areas, and the previous national record of 38.7°C was smashed before midday. That record was defeated by two areas in our county, with Waddington and Coningsby topping the national list with 40.3 and 40.2°C respectively.
It was a similar story on Lincolnshire’s roads, too. The county council’s dedicated gritter, Spreaddie Mercury, has been out for reactive sand dusting for the first time ever, and a peak road surface temperature of 56.3°C was reported in Martin, Timberland.
The Lincolnite went to speak to a few businesses on the High Street and Cornhill Quarter to see how the weather has affected their staff and customer numbers.
It came as multiple businesses across the city in a variety of sectors closed shop as a result of the hot weather, including Doughnotts on the Cornhill and popular ice cream parlour Dennetts round the corner from Lincoln Cathedral.
Gemma, manager at 200 Degrees Coffee, said that low numbers is nothing new in summer months for coffee shops like hers, but this recent heatwave
She said: “The problem is that when it’s hot, people don’t want to come out, they don’t get hungry. Not to mention the fact that our customer base are older, which makes a big difference.
“I think the news puts people off when you see things like schools closing and trains being cancelled with people telling you not to go out.
“We usually have around seven staff members on shift but today we have three, the past few weeks have been quieter than usual definitely. There’s nobody around really.”
Also on the Cornhill, Lush worker Danielle, who has been at the cosmetics retailer for seven years, said she’s never seen anything like this before in Lincoln.
She told The Lincolnite: “We’ve seen ungodly levels of quietness compared to our typical days. There have been maybe eight customers in the whole day.
“I’ve not known anything like this before in my time here, it’s enough to put anyone off coming into town today. Our low customer numbers could also be down to Cornhill Cove (pop-up venue next to Lush) but the heat has definitely played a big part.
“We do have air conditioning so that’s been a great help, and are also utilising toner sprays for people to get cooled off with our refill system in-store.”
Managers at Crew Clothing Company on the High Street said it simply comes down to “people not wanting to shop” in these conditions, but says staff are being well looked after in the heat.
“It’s obviously died down so far this week as people don’t want to shop at the moment, and will probably come out at the end of the week when it cools down.
“The company have been great with us, supplying drinks and ice lollies to keep our staff refreshed, plus we have the air con blasting out!”