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Shop local – that's the message as stores around Moray reopen today

By Alistair Whitfield

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People are being encouraged by the Scottish Government to shop local as 'non-essential' stores across the country reopen today.

Shops can re-open once guidance about social distancing has been implemented under the move to phase two of the route map out of lockdown.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The progress made in tackling COVID-19 because of compliance of the public with lockdown rules means we are now in a position to ease some restrictions.

"Shops with street access in high streets across the country will be re-opening from today in a significant step towards the recovery of our economy, which has been very severely hit by coronavirus.

"High street retailers have shown huge resilience since the start of lockdown and the work they have done to safely prepare for re-opening, with close engagement between industry and trade unions, has been very welcome.

"As the high street re-opens we are making it clear shoppers are welcome back to their local high street as long as they shop safely and observe key safety messages such as the wearing of face coverings."

Today also marks the easing of restrictions on housing moves, outdoor markets, the construction sector, factories, warehouses and labs and research facilities.

Scotland Policy Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses Andrew McRae, said: "We all have a part to play in breathing life back into our high streets and town centres.

"Local independent retailers have had a very long, tough few months and they need the public’s support now more than ever.

"We know that money spent locally stays in the local community - and local communities can’t recover unless local economies do so too."

The same 'shop local' message is also being made by David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium.

He said: "The last 14 weeks have been very challenging for retailers.

"Being able to reopen today is a chance for those businesses to recover, and hopefully thrive.

"In preparation shop owners have put in an immense effort to take every step possible to be ready to safely open.

"Our hope is customers will come out and support their local town centre and high street."

Shoppers are being asked to pay attention to signs and to instructions from staff.

They are also being asked to shop outside of peak hours and to follow current health guidance. This includes the wearing of face coverings.

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