A PLEA has gone out to shoppers and diners to ‘keep on coming to Southport’ after fears Tier 3 Covid restrictions placed on the town could see visitor numbers dwindle.
Last week, Sefton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region became the first area in the country to move into the ‘very high risk’ restrictions. The move saw the closure of many pubs and bars, indoor gyms, fitness studios, dance studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos.
Pubs and bars can remain open, but only where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
The new restrictions sparked fears that Sefton’s high streets could suffer a major reduction in footfall putting businesses that are still open at further risk. Any such reduction in trade and footfall would be especially damaging in the run up to Christmas.
Southport BID’s chief executive Rachel Fitzgerald said: “Despite these new restrictions, the vast majority of the businesses in Southport will remain open.
“This includes our fantastic choice of shops, our restaurants, our beauty salons, hairdressers and barbers, many of our pubs which serve food, and others too.
“A great number of our businesses have successfully remained open throughout the whole of this pandemic with others reopening safely in the summer.
“Southport BID has been working very closely with venues across town to help ensure that they are fully Covid safe and have all the correct safety measures in place.
“Our local businesses have put huge amounts of effort and time into operating safely, ensuring that customers and diners can social distance.
“We want to continue to reassure everyone that they can shop and dine out in Southport with full confidence.
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“It is devastating to see great businesses forced to close again, but we hope this will be a very temporary measure and that they will be back open again soon.
“Financial support for those businesses and their staff members has been made available by the Government. We are aware that there is huge concern that these measures do not go far enough.
“We are ensuring these concerns, along with other BIDs nationally, are shared with National BID bodies who are working with central Government to negotiate wider support.
“We are happy to help any of the businesses in the Southport BID area which need advice, and will continue to keep businesses updated on changes as they happen through our website and social media.
“It is more important than ever that local people keep taking advantage of all that our town has to offer and support our local independents if they are to survive.
“We can still enjoy lunch with our household groups, or get take away coffees and take a walk with a friend and we can most certainly still start our Christmas shopping and enjoy being in a safe, open air town.”