A Hull balloon business owner who closed her store during the coronavirus lockdown has said she is exasperated at the number of people still trying to book balloons to be delivered to their parties.

Elaine Hakim, who runs the Hullaballoon shop in Beverley Road, says she had diverted calls from the business to her home to help any customers who had existing bookings.

But she said she has since received multiple calls every single day from people trying to make new bookings for balloons to be delivered for birthday parties and other events.

She said: "The last thing I wanted to do was close the shop. I don't want them to think I've just put the shutters up ignored them.

"But new people keep ringing and ringing and ringing.

"People have been asking me if they can have balloons delivered and I'm just thinking, 'What planet are you on?'"

Elaine Hakim at the new store in Spring Street
Elaine Hakim at the Hullaballoon store in Spring Street

Ms Hakim said she had closed the sure to make sure she was complying with government guidelines restricting all but essential travel to try and halt the spread of the virus.

Although she said some traders had continued making bookings online, she had put several posts on the business's Facebook page to let prospective companies know that they were not trading.

"Food shops and pharmacies, fine, but not this," she said.

"People just don't seem to know what a non-essential business is. It's senseless.

"It might be essential as far as they're concerned if it's their kid's birthday, but it's just not essential at all.

"I wouldn't risk my driver's life by going door to door and I wouldn't to do it - I'm a grandmother now.

"And I wouldn't want to pass anything on, I want to keep my customers forever. What sort of conscience would I have if I knew someone had been ill or even died after coming to the shop? There'd always be that doubt in my mind, I'd feel dreadful."

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As government restrictions became more strict before the full country-wide lockdown, cafes, bars, restaurants and other facilities were closed.

But after the full lockdown was introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month, all but essential businesses were ordered to close.

The Prime Minister himself has since been moved to intensive care after his symptoms worsened following his coronavirus diagnosis almost two weeks ago.

Ms Hakim said: "Boris is a prime example - you just think can people wake up now?

"Where I live there's gangs of kids hanging around in the streets and sat on the playing fields, they just need their heads banging together.

"I really do value the custom and that's why I want to keep them and us safe. But I can't be serving however many people per day like that.

"Right now, for the sake of people's lives, I'd rather not."

She said she was applying for the government's grant scheme aimed at supporting small businesses like Hullaballoon while they're unable to trade during the lockdown.

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And she said she was confident the business would be able to bounce back, with bookings already made up until the end of the year.

"There's the government grant to tie me over but I've got to pay my staff and the rent, I certainly won't be booking any holidays or going off on a jolly with it," she said.

"But we will be open again and the business will come back even stronger because we'll still have lots coming up."