“There have been tears shed, very much so. You don’t be here for 50 years and walk away,” said Isobel Charles-Whitaker as she stood outside Cherry Tree Home Bakery in Lisnaskea, which she opened with her late husband Norman half a century ago.

While her two sons, Ashley and Glen, now run the business Isobel continues to contribute and was left “horrified” when the coronavirus lockdown forced her beloved shop to close temporarily almost two months ago.

“I have been worried about it never opening again. When we closed down I thought, ‘my word’. I have been very, very upset. I knew what it was like starting out and to be in debt. This place very important to me, this was my livelihood. This is part of my life.

“I had surgery at Christmas and it was the first time I wasn’t in the business. When the boys told me the place had to close, I said, ‘what? What are we closing for?’ I got into an awful state.

Despite the uncertainty, the bakery has been able to reopen, although there is a reduced service.

“It makes me feel good to see people going back in. There is such a need for food, I can’t wait to get these doors open again,” said Isobel.

Her son Ashley was forced to change his business model after closing for six weeks, telling this newspaper that “necessity is the mother of invention.”

“We did a bit of e-commerce out the back and it covered a few direct debits. When you are off you are still having to pay your direct debits, your mortgage, no matter what the banks tell you.

“I sat down and for three days I taught myself to build a website and do you know it wasn’t the hardest thing in the world, it kept money coming in. Yes, you get your grant but you are still paying stuff, you are still having to pay suppliers,” he said.

The businessman is “optimistic” that normal service will resume but only, he says, “if everyone pulls together”.

“The big problem is sometimes people only look at their own wee thing. If you don’t get people across the threshold you aren’t going to bring any money in,” he said.

Given the importance of health and safety, Ashley has had to also remodel his shop.

“I went out the back with a few sheets of MDF and got a pile of Perspex and placed them along the counter and do you know we have never sold so many pastries.

“Now they are in front of people so we are now changing things, I am going to draw a plan for a new counter and the local men’s shed will help me do it,” he said.

He accepts that businesses must now “change and adapt” but admits that his “passion for the job took a hit” during the early days of lockdown.

“Those three days making the website I was not happy, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said.

Up the street on Church Row is Wesley Warrington, one of the directors of Delta House and Home, whose business is now back open with social distancing measures firmly in place.

“It has been extremely difficult because people needed product and we weren’t open to provide that product. One of the strangest things… I cannot for the life of me know why an electric shop wasn’t deemed essential when you have cookers, washing machines, fridges. There is nothing more essential in any house than those items,” he said.

Before his shop closed there was also a shortage of paint following a spike in demand.

“We ran out of paint, simple as that. There mustn’t be a fence in the country that hasn’t be painted. We still can’t get it, 10 weeks on.”

He admits to worrying about the future of jobs across the country.

“I have concerns going forward, when people realise if they will have a job or not. We just don’t do business in Lisnaskea, we cover a substantial area of Fermanagh and Tyrone. You would be concerned that money will dry up,” he said.

Estate agent Gordon Robinson has since much change in the past 30 years but nothing like the previous number of months, describing the period as “pretty upsetting”.

“I was very concerned and still am. What happens if there is a second wave? That being the case, anything is liable to happen.

“However, having said that, I feel there are more first-time buyers on the telephone than there would have been in the middle of March. And the town is doing fine, the people are back in again and this will all blow over,” he said. His colleagues agree.

Heather Foster, who looks after sales and lettings, said it was “fantastic” to see Lisnaskea back open for business but warned that people “need to be careful”.

“I think a lot of people are being careful and that’s a good thing. They have to get on with their lives, they have to come out and you can see how busy it is at the moment.”

Maura Johnston agreed, saying while “you have to live your life” it is vital that “you follow the rules and guidelines”.

“This is a rural town and people have listened to what they have been told. I think as a result of that they will shop more locally because that is more important than ever,” she said.

Pharmacist Valerie Crawford runs Armstrong’s Pharmacy which has been part of the fabric of the town for 32 years. Like all pharmacists, she has played an important role during the pandemic

“There has been nothing like it before this. The very beginning was very tough as we were inundated and with GP services not being accessible everybody arrived down here.

“People were ringing, there was a mad panic with people wanting their medication and more than usual; more vitamins, more hand sanitisers, we were short of paracetamol which was unheard of in 30 odd years,” she said.

And despite the influx of patients, the pharmacy remained open throughout the lockdown.

“At the beginning you were working way beyond the hours. I was in cleaning and leaving late at night; disinfecting everything, cleaning floors and surfaces and screens, which we had to do.

“It has been a very stressful time,” she said.