‘We all have a part to play in breathing life back into our high streets’

More shops are reopening as Scotland’s lockdown continues to ease off.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 29th June 2020, 4:00 pm
Shoppers are welcome back to their local high street as long as they shop safely and observe key safety messages. Photo: Lisa Ferguson
Shoppers are welcome back to their local high street as long as they shop safely and observe key safety messages. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

Phase two of the Scottish Government’s plan to gradually end lockdown will allow more retailers to open their stores.

As a central part of restoring retail, a new publicity campaign will promote safe shopping, with shoppers asked to pay attention to signs and other information, avoid peak hours and follow all other guidance.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The progress made in tackling Covid-19 because of compliance of the public with lockdown rules means we are now in a position to ease some restrictions.

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“Shops with street access in high streets across the country will be re-opening from today in a significant step towards the recovery of our economy, which has been very severely hit by coronavirus.

“High street retailers have shown huge resilience since the start of lockdown and the work they have done to safely prepare for re-opening, with close engagement between industry and trade unions, has been very welcome.

“As the high street re-opens we are making it clear shoppers are welcome back to their local high street as long as they shop safely and observe key safety messages such as the wearing of face coverings.”

Andrew McRae of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “We all have a part to play in breathing life back into our high streets and town centres. Local independent retailers have had a very long, tough few months and they need the public’s support now more than ever.

“We know that money spent locally stays in the local community – and local communities can’t recover unless local economies do so too.”

Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: “The last 14 weeks have been very challenging for retailers. Lockdown has forced them to rely on their limited reserves of cash and short term financial support, including the Scottish Government’s grants and rates relief, to survive.

“Being able to reopen today is a chance for those businesses to recover, and hopefully thrive.

“In preparation shop owners have put in an immense effort to take every step possible to be ready to safely open and our hope is customers will come out and support their local town centre and high street.”