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Residents urged to shop safe, shop local

14 August 2020

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A shopper at Rochdale Riverside.

Residents are being urged to stay safe and shop local, as part of a national campaign to help business amid the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Shop local campaign encourages people to support local business

The shop local campaign, running until Sunday, 16 August 2020, encourages people to safely support local business to help aid the long term recovery of the high street.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills and employment, said: "Local shops have introduced a range of safety measures, with the support to our public protection team, so visitors feel confident supporting these vital businesses and the many residents whose jobs rely on their continued survival.

"As long as shoppers follow the guidance by wearing a face covering and only heading out with members of their own household, they can enjoy what our shops have to offer and help our high street through this incredibly challenging time. With non-essential public transport use being discouraged, now's the perfect time to stay close to home and discover a gem in your own neighbourhood."

'Support from customers is more important than ever'

And Neela Jackson from the Star Tree Studio in Littleborough, which provides educational activities for children and also has a shop, said support is more vital than ever, particularly for independents.

"We need people's custom now more than ever, and the next 6-12 months are going to be vital to whether these businesses survive long term," she said.

Rachel Byrne, centre manager at Rochdale Riverside, said: "To open a brand new shopping and leisure development at a time like this has obviously been a real challenge, but it's been reassuring to see the people of Rochdale supporting us, using the shops safely and generally being incredibly positive about the Riverside development.

"We've got a number of safety measures in place to help people shop with confidence and contactless parking is an added benefit for our customers. We're asking visitors to wear a face covering both inside the shops and while walking around the development to keep themselves and others safe."

Tricia Keogh, manager of Daniel Christian Menswear in the Rochdale Exchange shopping centre, said: "Although it's been fantastic being back, it has sometimes proven difficult trying to navigate our way through some quiet spells, even with big reductions across most of our ranges.

"This is why, now more than ever, we rely and appreciate the support of our loyal customers and the local community. It's this support that hopefully will help us through these very uncertain times."

'The vast majority of our customers are wearing face coverings'

Claire Seddon, manager at The Card Factory in Heywood, said: "It's been going quite well since we reopened and customers say they're enjoying a bit of normality after the closures earlier this year. The vast majority of our shoppers are wearing face coverings, which is really encouraging, and we're providing hand sanitiser and monitoring distancing in store.

"It's a lovely little village feel in Heywood and we often support other businesses by encouraging our shoppers to go to other local shops if they sell things they can't get here. That's something you get when you shop local, which you wouldn't get in a city."

'Reopening safely is critical for us and we've massively increased our cleaning, especially at key touch points'

Middleton shopping centre manager, Marie Gribben, said: "We're about 30% down on footfall compared to this time last year, which isn't surprising. There was an initial honeymoon period when non-essential retail reopened, and our cafes, like Café Zinho, are taking part in Eat Out to Help out, which is helping, but it's definitely a struggle.

"As well as chains, we have some cracking independents, like sportswear store, Simon One, All Seasons Lingerie and our Italian eatery, Café Salento, is reopening next week. Bringing people back safely was critical for us and we're really strict on cleaning around all touch points and toilets and encouraging distancing. If people follow the guidelines, they can support us safely. It's so important for these businesses that people come back. I can't stress enough how much they need that support."