Nonessential retail resumed trading at the start of the week, with large queues having been seen outside of stores in the region’s cities and towns.
Now, with parts of the hospitality sector set to reopen next month, Carolyn Frank of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the public to show similar levels of support.
Ms Frank said: “Retailers have been amazing in terms of how they have adapted during the crisis. They have done so much in a short time and we are hearing so many positive stories right across the area. We have now got to build on that. There is no alternative but to push forward now.
“A lot of very loyal customers have had a dilemma about safety or having the cash to spend. They have overcome that and that is brilliant.”
Ms Frank gave her strong backing to the York and North Yorkshire LEP’s plan to restart and support the tourism industry but said that the whole region, both business and consumers, needed to come together to play their part in ensuring its survival.
“There are some more positive things coming out now, it feels a little bit like the climate is changing,” she said.
“But it is not going to be good news for everyone. They are still going to need some support. The vision they have put forward is very clear and gives tourism businesses something to get behind. But one of the biggest worries is the lack of international visitors. Tourism businesses are going to be relying on domestic visitors and hopefully local people will realise how lucky we are with what is on our doorstep. I hope people do get behind the industry, it is the biggest worry I think.
“It only works if there is collaboration at all levels. Everybody has got a part to play to make this a success. It is all about survival.That industry has a far reach. It’s not just a silo,
Ms Frank however did sound a cautious note about the longer term future for small firms. Many have relied on Government-backed loans and VAT deferrals to survive during lockdown and will face some large bills as the economy starts to recover.
“The problems for business are just starting,” she said.
“It is not enough just to shop now or book a holiday in August. These businesses are going to need our support for a long time.”