Craven Arms is open for business, say town's traders
Independent traders in Craven Arms are "open for business" as they urge shoppers to support the town after a recently contained Covid outbreak.
The town was given the all-clear in early August after an outbreak of coronarivus which was contained to a nearby travellers’ site.
Local traders have been open as usual, and are now encouraging people to show their support at a time when it is needed the most.
“We can promise people safe service with a smile,” said Sue Phillips, partner at Newington Garage, the garden machinery specialists on Shrewsbury Road.
“We had just started to do well again before the outbreak. Now we need to let people know that it is safe for them to come back to Craven Arms.
“In fact I’d say that with all the measures which have been taken recently, it must be one of the safest places around.”
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Harry Delves, from Tuffins supermarket said his business was one of the lucky ones, able to continue trading through lockdown. But he said turnover was around 40 per cent down since the outbreak.
“We have been decimated by the recent situation. I think people are avoiding Craven Arms because there has been a lot of negative press; we need to say Craven Arms is open for business.
“Local officials did an incredible job, but it doesn’t seem to have got into the open world that Craven Arms is Covid-free.
“We want to be a hub for the community, and for everyone to be coming and buzzing around Craven Arms again.”
Liam Magill, the owner of DM Wall & Son butchers on Corvedale Road, said he had certainly seen a fall-off in passing trade since the Covid outbreak.
He added: “The message is that it’s business as usual for us and other traders – we are all still open, and it is safe to come and visit us.”
Laila’s Café owner Naomi Denton said her business, like others around the town, were ‘as safe as they possibly could be’.
She said her café had been redecorated with wipeable walls and surfaces, and had a one-way system and protective screens on the counters.
Around a third of tables have also been removed to ensure that two-metre social distancing can be observed, and cleaning schedules have been heightened.
“We just need people to come back and have the confidence that we are doing the right things. We need people to understand that Craven Arms is Covid-clean," she said.
“We should be celebrating how well the authorities and the residents did. To manage to contain the outbreak to one site, with no outbreak into the community, is something to be proud of.
“We need people to come back and realise that Craven Arms is open for business – we are still here waiting.”
Lee Chapman, Shropshire councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, and chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "This has been a challenging time for the Craven Arms community, but I would like to express my sincere gratitude for their continued co-operation.
"People have followed the measures put in place to keep everyone safe, and nearly 400 residents took up the offer of testing. The fact that there were no confirmed cases outside of the Long Lane site speaks volumes.
“Both the lockdown and Long Lane outbreak has had a massive impact on the local economy in Craven Arms. We now need to help local businesses get back on their feet.”