Watershed for high streets as Yorkshire reopens – The Yorkshire Post says

A TALE of two Yorkshires will be witnessed on the county’s high streets this weekend in the final hours before the next phase of the Covid lockdown is tentatively eased.

Town centres and high streets are preparing to reopen next week.

As the nation mourns Prince Philip, there will still be staff putting the final touches to those much treasured non-urgent shops preparing to reopen and showing the attention to detail that would have met the approval of the late Duke of Edinburgh who was a great supporter of independent producers.

Equally, other retail premises will be staying shut – many for good after Covid proved to be one crisis too many for them after years struggling to compete with online giants.

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And it will only be next week, when a clearer picture emerges of the stores that have closed or customers discover that their favourite shop assistants are no longer behind the counter, that the scale of the retail rescue mission will emerge.

The Piece Hall in Halifax is among the locations preparing to reopen.

As such, never has it been more important to support those independent stores that add so much vitality and variety to communities as Yorkshire reopens.

It’s also imperative that shoppers use their common sense, wear their face masks inside stores and respect rules on social distancing that exist for one very good reason; namely to protect the public’s health.

But this also needs to be matched by Government recognition that the retail sector will not recover overnight and welcome measures, like relief on business rates or the VAT cut for the tourism industry, do, in fact, only go so far.

And the type of collective national effort that has helped the country reach this point, thanks in no small part to the Covid vaccine rollout, will now be need to be undertaken by national and local government leaders, including with town managers and the retailers to themselves, to ensure that next week’s reopening does truly herald the revival of Yorkshire communities.

Whitby trader Sarah Steele is among retailers looking forward to reopening her shop next week.

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