Shop local: Now is the time to support local retailers - leader comment

Today has been a day a long time in coming for Scotland’s hard-pressed retailers.

Under the latest stage of Scotland’s lockdown easing, non-essential shops are being allowed to reopen under strict new rules.

Shops with outdoor entrances will be able to open from today, while indoor parts of shopping ­centres are expected to reopen on 13 July. And, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium, it is make or break time, particularly for local retailers.

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All businesses have been badly hit by the unprecedented shutdown but none more so than small independents, with many now facing a battle for survival. There is a danger that habits formed during lockdown, particularly in the growth of online shopping could also be hard to shift.

So the message today is clear: If you can, support your local high street while staying safe and observing the rules.

Scotland feels like it is edging back to normality with today’s relaxation, but in truth things will not be normal for some time. The shopping experience everywhere will be very different, shops will be forced to introduce restrictions and face an additional financial burden to comply with the new regulations.

There is a plea today for shoppers to follow the five steps for “considerate shopping” – queue considerately, maintain social distancing, ­follow instructions inside and outside shops, follow hygiene measures and be respectful to staff.

As David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, says today: “It has never been more important to play our part in keeping our towns and retail destinations vibrant.

“Every visit we make helps support jobs in retail and throughout the supply chain.

Retailers have been working around the clock to create a safe shopping environment, so their customers can have the confidence to return to their favourite shops. Our shopping experience may be changing, but if we all follow the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures and show consideration to those around us, then everyone will be better off.”

Money spent locally stays in the local community, and this will be key to the overall recovery from Covid-19. In short, the shops need our support and, for the first time in months, we can give it.

Shop safe and shop local.



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