Shop Local: Back St Albans and Harpenden retailers online during second lockdown

Let's back our independent retailers online this November.

Let's back our independent retailers online this November. - Credit: Archant

The onset of a second lockdown has shaken up the district’s already-precarious retail industry, but we can still offer a ray of hope to beleagured traders.

Although shops across St Albans and Harpenden have closed their doors, there are still opportunities to #ShopLocal online.

Cllr Mandy McNeil, district council portfolio holder for business, tourism and culture, co-chair of St Albans BID and the Independent Hospitality and Retail Association, has been involved in introducing new measures to help retailers weather the storm of shutdown.

She said: “Every pound spent locally counts. Working together we can stay connected, get through this lockdown, and help our local economy survive.

“At this stage, St Albans Charter Market will be operating at a reduced capacity from Saturday with essential items, including hot food and plants. The BID is backing the campaign to allow our St Albans markets to be allowed to offer essentials and other items, to be on a level playing field with supermarkets, or to at least permit click and collect options, to be equitable and consistent with permitted retail activities.

“Officers from the council’s COVID-19 business response team are working tirelessly to obtain the latest guidance on grants, permitted activists, planning laws, licensing and support for all of our business community.

“Residents can also make a online personal Christmas shopping appointment with local independent stores to get exclusive advice and information on the perfect gift.”

You can also support hairdressers, beauticians, pubs, cafés and restaurants by purchasing vouchers to be used once the businesses reopen through the BID’s Stick One In scheme at Woodgate, president of St Albans Chamber of Commerce said: “With another lockdown, many of us will turn to Amazon for our Christmas shopping but, if we do, we will only have ourselves to blame if the new year brings a host of vacant shop fronts. If we buy local that money goes back into our local economy, and local jobs. We must use them or we will lose them.”

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St Albans MP Daisy Cooper added: “Even as we enter a second lockdown, we can all continue to Shop Local and support our high streets, helping those who make our local high streets so special survive this very tricky time.”