New mayor welcomes ‘big step back to normality’

June 23, 2020 8:00 AM
Originally published by Torridge and West Devon Liberal Democrats

As shops deemed 'non-essential' start to open for the first time since the lockdown, the new Mayor of Northam, David Chalmers, visited local businesses which have opened their doors again after twelve weeks of lockdown. He reported that about half the shops in Appledore, and a slightly greater proportion in Westward Ho!, were open and ready for business, selling a wide range of daily goods.

Mayor Chalmers praised the efforts of businesses to protect staff and make customers feel safe, with sanitizers at the door, many shop owners wearing face masks, and Perspex screens installed around counters and tills.

He urged people to 'shop local' to support local businesses which depend heavily on the tourist trade, saying:

'Seeing the shops open is a welcome sign that our economy is reviving. But until we are ready to extend our normal warm welcome to visitors, it is more important than ever to shop local where we can. So many livelihoods are dependent on tourism, they need our custom in order to survive.'

Shopkeepers reported that they had had a steady stream of customers throughout the day, with people in good spirits and generally observing social distancing rules.

'Seeing the shops open is a big step back to normality,' said Mayor Chalmers, 'we have all missed the services of local shops - and the smiles and the warm greetings with which they welcome us.'

  1. David Chalmers was elected Mayor of Northam on 10 June this year. He is Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Torridge and West Devon and stood as the Lib Dem candidate in the 2019 election. He lives in Appledore and is a governor of Petroc College.