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News Archive > General > Open!

Open!

By Natasha Swift 2nd December 2020

Open!
White River Place manager Richard Hurst with BID manager Annette Miller

Shops in St Austell are hoping it isn’t only the Christmas bells that will jingle in the lead up to December 25, but the cash registers too as the town reopens for business today. 
‘Shop Safe, Shop Local, Shop St Austell’ is the message to residents as traders throw open their doors and welcome back customers now the four-week lockdown has been lifted. 


Work has been underway to prepare the town centre to reopen after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday that Cornwall would be the only part of mainland England under Tier 1 restrictions.


Along with the Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight, the county has been placed into the lowest level of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.


Most businesses are allowed to operate in Tier 1 as long as they're Covid-19 secure.
Hoping for a repeat of the mad rush which hit the town when businesses were allowed to reopen in June after the first lockdown is St Austell BID manager, Annette Miller, who has been busy ensuring St Austell is as safe as possible for shoppers when they return. 
Annette has issued a rallying ‘your town needs you’ call to residents, who she hopes will help to ‘give the traders a Merry Christmas’.


BID has gone above and beyond to bring a whole line-up of entertainment to entice shoppers back to the town every Saturday throughout the festive season, and there will also be free parking in White River and Priory car parks on December 19.


Speaking to the Voice, Annette said many town centre businesses, including the butchers, greengrocers, beauty salons and hairdressers, had been hit badly by the second lockdown.


She said a number of businesses like White River Fish Bar had invested in a click and collect service in the first lockdown, which had been a success, but sandwich bars and cafes in St Austell have struggled due to the working from home rule, which has seen the town lose the lunchtime spend.


Annette told the Voice: “Your town needs your support. Shop safely, shop St Austell. We hope people come back into the town and give the traders a Merry Christmas as well as the community.”


Mayor of St Austell Tim Styles is hoping town centre businesses and food outlets will have a busy few weeks leading up to Christmas and is urging residents to support them by shopping locally.


Councillor Styles said:“Whilst I am delighted that Cornwall has been put into Tier 1, which will allow the public and businesses more freedom than other parts of the country, I would urge everyone to respect the guidelines to ensure that we remain in this Tier. 
“It has been a difficult few months for everyone and it would be a shame if we relax too much now and allow the virus to spread widely in our community. I very much hope that our town centre businesses and food outlets have a busy few weeks leading up to Christmas and would urge residents to support them by shopping locally.”


White River Place centre manager, Richard Hurst, told the Voice he wanted residents to “switch off that computer” and head to town to finish off their Christmas shopping. 
He said: ‘Whilst it is clear that the pandemic is not over and we still have some way to go before we get back to ‘normal’, it is great news that Cornwall is in Tier 1.


“In anticipation of reopening many of the stores have already had teams in receiving deliveries and putting the final touches to Christmas displays.  All businesses this year have taken a knock and your towns retailers are no exception, so we urge you to switch off that computer, put down that tablet and head into town to complete your Christmas shopping. 


“The town has a good range of high street brands and local independents, you can even sort your Christmas lunch at the local butchers, bakers and veg shops.
“We have no Christmas events but we are working with BID on some festive entertainment which will primarily be on a Saturday.  Weather permitting we are also looking forward to welcoming back our select group of ‘craft stalls’ who will hopefully be with us each Saturday through December. 


“We all still have to follow the guidance so remember ‘Keys, Wallet, Sanitiser and Mask’. The tree is up , the lights are on and the towns retailers are ready to welcome back their customers, so come get their tills ringing for Christmas – Shop Safe, Shop Local, Shop St Austell and support your town.”


MP for St Austell, Steve Double, said the new tier system was particularly good news for local businesses which can now reopen. 


Mr Double said: “This will be particularly good news for the thousands of hospitality businesses which will be able to reopen under the lowest level of restrictions.
“However whilst we can welcome this news it should be no grounds for complacency. Before we entered the national restrictions Cornwall was in Tier 1 and the number of cases in Cornwall was rising and continued to rise until last week. Clearly the new national restrictions have had the required effect and brought the virus back under control. This shows it was the right decision to introduce these measures. 


“It is now vital that everyone keeps to the new restrictions, keeps to the rules of six,  maintains social distancing, washes their hands regularly and wears a mask when necessary. This will enable us to ensure cases do not rise and that we are able to stay in Tier 1 and do not face the prospect of having to be put in a higher tier in the coming weeks. 


“This will be particularly important as we enter the run up to Christmas and look to enjoy the relaxation of the restrictions. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the festive season at the end of what has been a tough year for everyone. But we must still behave responsibly and not take unnecessary risks that would put our own health and those around us at risk.”

By Natasha Swift 2nd December 2020

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