BUSINESS owners in Malvern have spoken of how the restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of coronavirus have affected their trade.

The brothers who run Colston Bakeries, with branches in Malvern and Upton, say they have seen a surge in demand but have also faced challenges due to some staff having to isolate.

While the popular Cotford Hotel and L'AMuse Bouche Restaurant in Graham Road, Malvern, which had been running a takeaway-only service, has had to close that – but bed and breakfast is still open for 'frontline' workers.

Colston Bakery, which has shops in Malvern, Upton-upon-Severn and Worcester, has stayed open during the Covid-19 crisis to continue to supply customers with bread and other products.

Peter Clarke, who runs the bakery alongside his brothers Jonathan and Phillip, said they are finding it a challenge coping with demand.

He said: “We are still open at all seven branches: Malvern, Worcester and the one in Upton which is really helping the community there. We are currently selling more bread than usual and are selling eggs, butter and milk as well as lots of flour.

“Apparently the panic with the supermarkets means people are buying lots more flour so we have been really busy.”

Peter added that although the bakery has at times been busier, they are not selling the usual items to people who come in on their lunch break from work.

He said: “We aren’t selling the bacon rolls and hot savouries to people driving around or coming in on their lunch break.

“Cakes are selling really well though which I did not expect. I’d have thought people would leave them but I guess in these strange times you do need a treat. Having something like that can be really nice.”

He added: “Although we are really busy in the bakery trying to keep up with bread making, it is difficult as we have got a few staff who are isolating because they live with people in the vulnerable category or they are slightly older themselves.

“A few of our staff have said they want to keep working as long as possible, for the social aspect as much as anything.”

Peter said the bakeries are still coping with supply after the initial panic caused by coronavirus made finding ingredients harder for a short time.

He said: “So far the supply chain has held up well. When the panic buying was on two or three weeks ago we had a real problem with running out of yeast.

“A few crucial ingredients like yeast cannot be stockpiled as they are live ingredients. So there is only some stuff you can buy more of.”

Mr Clarke said planning for each day was still a challenge, with some days being extremely busy and other days being quiet.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for The Cotford Hotel said the business was "in hibernation”.

“Only recently, we launched a multi-faceted takeaway service which has had amazing initial success, however it involves our staff having to be working side-by-side in an enclosed environment which goes against the health advice issued by the government so we feel it prudent to suspend this until we feel that no member of staff is at risk.

“We will continually update where we can on social media and a new page on our web site will be online for the duration of this extraordinary situation so that we may hopefully present a clear picture to you all of our abilities and intentions.

“We are in a situation where we are able to offer 'contact-free' accommodation to front-line workers, engineers etc. We are able to offer a bed and breakfast package including a contact-free continental breakfast tray outside the room.

“The public areas of the lounge, the bar and restaurant in the hotel are not available at this point in time."

They added: “For now though, from Chris, Barbara and all the staff here at The Cotford Hotel and L’Amuse Bouche Restaurant, Great Malvern, its hibernation time.”