Boost for Shropshire's local traders post-lockdown with tourists helping revival

Shops, restaurants and entertainment venues have seen a boost in visitors following the reopening of indoor hospitality in May – but footfall remained below levels before the Covid pandemic, new figures reveal.

Owner Stacey Hill
Owner Stacey Hill

Businesses across the county have said that the gradual re-opening, as lockdown restrictions have eased, has seen a boost in trade, with suggestions that tourists enjoying domestic holidays are contributing to a steady revival.

It comes as figures from Google, which uses location data to track trends in people's movement, show the number of people out using restaurants, cafes and shops, was up on pre-pandemic levels in the wake of the May 17 re-opening.

That has been reflected in the experience of several local businesses, including family-run Ludlow restaurant Bistro 7, where owner and chef, James Moss said they had been "blown away" by the level of interest.

He said that the restaurant is booked up two weeks in advance, with some entire days in September and October already booked out.

He said: "Since the day we opened the door again we have been full every night and we are booked up two weeks in advance."

Mr Moss said they had been pleasantly surprised by the post-lockdown trade, with tourism helping boost the number of people through the door.

He said: "Ludlow is a real tourist town, so the staycation thing is in everyone's heads so they just want to come out.

"We've been blown away. This time of year we are normally busy but it really is good.

"Before lockdown we were busy this time of year but never booked two weeks in advance."

Stacey Hill (right) from Oberon in Shrewsbury said that trade had been good since shops had re-opened, crediting tourism for boosting visitor numbers

In Shrewsbury, Stacey Hill, owner of the independent boutique and jewellery store Oberon, said trade had been good since the May re-opening – again bolstered by visitors to the town.

She said: "It has been really busy since. We are getting all the locals who have been very supportive of Shrewsbury and the visitors as well who are coming to stay in the town because they can't go abroad so it is a double whammy."

She added: "There are lots of tourists here at the moment so it is really good. It really has been fantastic.

"I have been pleasantly surprised at how it as gone, it has been lovely. I would say it is a good time to be a shopkeeper at the moment, people are enjoying their shopping and independent shops."

In Oswestry the House of Wingz restaurant, which had been doing takeaway throughout lockdown, opened new larger premises – able to seat 80 people – just in time for the restrictions to lift.

Joint owner Tom Jones said there had been a boom when the restrictions had first lifted, and that the business is seeing more customers than ever before.

He said: "We went from a 30-seater restaurant to an 80-seater so we had a big expansion and we are doing bigger numbers than we have ever done."

The Wellington Orbit's Back to the Tuture Day is one of the events that has proved a hit with the public post-lockdown

Meanwhile the Wellington Orbit Cinema has also enjoyed a successful re-opening.

Its manager Damien Breeze said: "We have our quiet days but everyone has those, generally people are slowly coming back."

The August programme has just been confirmed and some of the venue's special events, such as a Back to the Future Day with a real DeLorean, and a screening of Brassed Off with a performance from Wellington Brass Band, have proved a massive hit.

He said: "We are trying to make it so people are not just going out to a film, and to give them an experience, let them talk to each other, have a good night out and hopefully bring more people into Wellington.

"We had quite a lot of people turn up for the brass band who were not even coming to watch the film and the DeLorean was fantastic and we have plenty more planned."

The Google figures show the increase in people getting out and about in Shropshire.

According to the tech giant, average activity across these areas was 29 per cent below normal levels across the two weekends – May 8 to 9 and May 15 to 16 – prior to the lifting of restrictions on indoor hospitality on May 17.

On the Saturday and Sunday of the Spring Bank Holiday on May 31, increased activity meant it soared to five per cent above normal levels.

Then across the final two weekends with data – July 3 to 4 and July 10 to 11 – footfall fell to seven per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News