Scots are being encouraged to support their local businesses as shops reopen across the country after the extended period of closure made necessary by the coronavirus lockdown.
The second phase of the Scottish government’s so-called ‘route map’ out of lockdown means non-essential shops can reopen once they’ve implemented relevant safety measures in line with official guidelines.
People are also now being allowed to move to new homes, attend outdoor markets, and return to their jobs if they work in factories, warehouses or lab research facilities.
The government is hoping that the reopening of shops across the country will give local areas and the wider Scottish economy a welcome boost in the coming days, weeks and months.
“We all have a part to play in breathing life back into our high streets and town centres,” said Andrew McRae from the Federation of Small Businesses.
“Local independent retailers have had a very long, tough few months and they need the public’s support now more than ever.”
David Lonsdale from the Scottish Retail Consortium described the past 14 weeks as being very challenging for retailers but said he hopes being able to reopen will give them a chance 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,” Mr Lonsdale said.
Scotland has been in lockdown due to coronavirus since March 23rd but has now been able to report several consecutive days without any deaths being officially attributed to the disease.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon posted messages on her social media platforms on Monday encouraging Scots returning to the shops this week to remain vigilant and stay safe as they do so.
“If you plan on visiting shops today, please do so responsibly. Maintain physical distancing, follow hygiene advice, wear a face covering and respect staff who may be asking you to shop differently,” Ms Sturgeon wrote.
“We’ve made so much progress against the virus – let’s not squander it,” she added.
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More than a third of workers in Scotland are fearful that they might lose their jobs at some point over the next 12 months.
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