Guitar shops across the UK swung their doors open to the public for the first time in months this morning. From 12 April, the nationwide lockdown-easing roadmap now allows non-essential businesses to allow customers in.
Some other restrictions have been lifted in England, with pubs and restaurants opening for outdoor hospitality, hairdressers reopening and one household can now stay away overnight. However, live music and other events are not expected to return until the summer.
Cases of COVID-19 in the UK have plummeted, with last week’s seven-day average clocking in at 7,000 cases. The last time the average was that low was in September 2020, before the country was hit by two more waves. In November, there was a peak of over 33,000 new cases in one day, and in January 2021 a peak of almost 70,000.
To ease traffic and make social distancing easier, many guitar shops are encouraging customers to book an appointment – so if you’re planning to stop by Denmark Street, it might be best to call ahead.
The effects of the pandemic are still having an enormous impact on music instrument retail, with Fender recently stating that it’s still having a hard time keeping things in stock.
The brand’s vice president of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nieve Cavanagh, was asked by the Music Industries Association about the increase of people picking up the guitar across 2020. Cavanagh noted that the year was the brand’s biggest for sales in its entire history, thanks to the “marked increase in demand for entry-level instruments, suggesting that there was a significant uptick in people picking up guitar or bass for the first time.”