Customers with autism 'in tears' after 'rubbish' Tier 4 restrictions shut shop

Precious Soles in Potters Bar 

Precious Soles in Potters Bar - Credit: Precious Soles

A Potters Bar shoe shop has claimed its vulnerable customers have been left in tears after it was forced to close due to the Tier 4 restrictions that came into force on Sunday. 

Peter Varnavas, who set up his business in 2002 to address the lack of medically-based footwear providers in the UK,  said it was "rubbish" his company Precious Soles is restricted to 'click and collect'. 

He explained: “Because of Tier 4 restrictions we have been forced to close over the Christmas period, but our phones are still ringing off the hook with demand for well-fitting shoes and our medical services.

"However, the government has decided we are non-essential which is rubbish. We have had people phoning up in tears needing the correct footwear for people with autism and other medical and personal needs.

“Having the right footwear is a medical need, our feet don’t stop growing because of a virus. Because demand is high we will be offering a click and collect service from the New Year. Right now our staff are having a much-deserved break but we will continue to provide our services then.”

Staff at Precious Soles in Potters Bar. 

Staff at Precious Soles in Potters Bar. - Credit: Precious Soles


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His staff comprises of healthcare professionals and his son Jonathan, who has a degree in sports and exercise rehabilitation and works closely with their partners at the Sutherland House clinic.

Peter, speaking before his store closed about the WHT's shop local campaign, said: “We have been, and will be, sticking true to our ethos which is based on an individual’s specific needs when it comes to lower limb health.

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"Despite the war on the high street, exacerbated by the pandemic and growth of online sales, we continue to provide the right footwear for customers on a safe, one-to-one basis in-store. Now more than ever it is important to support local businesses.”

“It has taken us 18 years to get to where we are now and we are thriving in dark times for the high street, which has further inspired us to carry on providing the best possible care, attention to detail and customer service well into the future.

“We are determined to spread positivity for the retail trade and the high street, which was already suffering long before this economic crisis.”

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