Town buzzing as shoppers return to area
Shopping areas have enjoyed a reported buzz this week as step two of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown was started on Monday.
April 12 signalled the reopening of non-essential shops, personal care premises and public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
Also indoor leisure facilities such as gyms reopened with most outdoor attractions, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas and self-contained accommodation where indoor facilities are not shared with other households.
Wetherby Ward Coun Norma Harrington welcomed step two: “It was really encouraging to see some normality return to our town.
“There was a genuine buzz about the place and people were clearly happy to be able to access our excellent local businesses and enjoy the experience of shopping in Wetherby.
“Many of our shops were enjoying a good trade with queues outside hairdressers and most businesses enjoying good footfall.”
She added that there was an air of caution from people who were obviously aware of the dangers of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Coun Harrington added: “It was also really good to see local residents, as they always have, still maintaining social distance and adhering to the rules whilst enjoying our town.
“Excellent progress has been made but we must still keep up social distancing to ensure that we keep on top of this terrible virus.
“It was great to see this important milestone reached and I look forward to more progress in the coming months.”
Established Wetherby trader Nish Kanabar, director Ace Cards and Castlegate Stationers said trade was positive.
“It was lovely to see and hear the hustle and bustle of people going in and out of the businesses yesterday.
“It was a lovely bright day on Monday. People’s spirits were lifted, and from businesses that we spoke to, and that came into us, trade was positive.”
The hospitality trade has also reopened this week with restrictions to outdoor seating only.
Catherine Spence of SantAngelo Italian restaurant, Wetherby, said: “We were delighted to reopen our doors and welcome back our customers, after having been closed for almost six months.
“We are fortunate to have a spacious terrace and conservatory that are perfect for socially-distanced outdoor dining.
“On Monday, the weather was on our side and the sun shone all day.
“It was wonderful to see businesses in Wetherby reopening, and life returning to our town.”
Wetherby Town Mayor Coun Neil O’Byrne will welcome back returning traders to the weekly market today (Thursday) at 10am.
A council spokesman said: “The food and plant stallholders have resolutely attended each Thursday during lockdown and now we are marking the happy reunion with all the other traders.”