Black Country and Staffordshire urged to back local businesses as lockdown eases

A rallying cry has been made for shoppers to support local businesses that are reopening today, with one MP declaring: “Use it or lose it.”

Alex and Jayne Murphy are ready to welcome customers back to The Robin Hood pub in Willenhall
Alex and Jayne Murphy are ready to welcome customers back to The Robin Hood pub in Willenhall

Pubs, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and non-essential shops are among the businesses allowed to reopen on Monday, in a major step of easing lockdown measures.

People in the Black Country and Staffordshire were urged to shop locally, and help boost the regional economy.

The head of the Black Country’s Chamber of Commerce echoed those calls, saying some businesses had not survived the pandemic.

Councils have been busy preparing for today, with public health signage installed in town centres, one-way walking systems in place and hand sanitiser available.

Hairdressers can open again under the latest easing of lockdown rules

The Robin Hood, in Willenhall, is among pubs opening up their beer gardens today. Jayne Murphy and her daughter Alex only took over the pub at the beginning of March.

Mrs Murphy said the last few months had been very difficult, but she was excited about beginning a new chapter at the pub.

She said: “It’s been a long time coming and we’re going to give people that extra special feeling of excitement at being out and seeing other people.

“It’s not exactly like mixing inside a pub, but it will feel a lot like my pub is my back garden, and we still want to see people smiling and enjoying themselves.

“As long as people stick to the rules, because we don’t want to go backwards, then we can all go forwards and get back to normal soon.”

Shoppers are allowed back inside stores again

Marco Longhi, the MP for Dudley North, said: “My rallying cry is use it or lose it.

“The Government has done everything it can possibly can to bridge the difficult period while businesses had to close.

“Now that businesses are allowed to reopen, it is absolutely paramount people regain that confidence to go out and spend their pennies and pounds as locally as they possibly can.”

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South, said he would be enjoying a pint on Monday at a Brierley Hill pub.

“We need to get back out there and support our shops,” he said.

Alex and Jayne Murphy are ready to welcome customers back to The Robin Hood pub in Willenhall

He said it was important shoppers did not forget about Covid rules, and asked people to wear face masks and keep to social-distancing.

West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards said she would be supporting the Red Lion pub in West Bromwich.

“People should support their local shops and pubs on the high street, helping to get business back to normal,” she said.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “

Even before Covid-19, the British high street was undergoing a decline, independent shops were struggling and department stores were fighting for survival, but as we build back from coronavirus, we want to see our high streets thrive again.

“I would urge everyone to stay local, shop local and support our local retailers,” he said.

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