Business owners in Llanelli say people are “making their own rules up” because of confusion over Covid-19 restrictions.
Shops and cafes have seen a dramatic drop in trade since the first town-only lockdown in Wales was announced nearly three weeks ago.
Diane Cheshire, from Joly’s Cafe in the town centre, said people were “not sure what is the right thing to do”.
Public Health Wales said restrictions would last at least another week.
Ms Cheshire, who has has owned and run the cafe for more than 20 years, said she has never seen the town so quiet.
“I’m very worried to be honest. I don’t want total lockdown but that’s the only way to stop this,” she said.
She said the differences in rules in different areas meant people were “making their own rules up because they’re not sure what is the right thing to do”.
“I can’t see an end to it. It’s going to take a long time to even remotely get back to normal.”
The case rate in Llanelli has reduced from 152 per 100,000 of the population to 99.9.
But this compares with a 58.8 per 100,000 case rate for the county of Carmarthenshire as a whole.
Public Health Wales said that while the signs are encouraging, the restrictions need to stay in place in the town for at least another week.
Business owners said the uncertainty was crippling their trade.
‘No end in sight’
Andrew Jones, who owns the D&A Heel Bar in Llanelli market, said: “I know people are afraid to come out because they’re shielding but it doesn’t help business for me.
“I do have an older customer base here. I can understand they’re afraid to come out. We’re doing as much as we can to help them, offering collections service where possible, but people are frustrated – they can’t see an end in sight.”
Llanelli town councillor Sean Rees said people living in his ward of Glanymor were confused about the rules.
“We need much clearer communication coming through to the community, particularly for our businesses,” he said.
“Our town centre is very much open for business for people within the area and I’d encourage people to shop locally to support family-run businesses and market traders, because they need our help right now.”
Carmarthenshire County Council said social distancing and behaviour inside licensed premises like pubs and clubs continued to cause concern.
The authority confirmed it had issued temporary closure notices for 10 premises within the last two weeks.