We must support local shops when they reopen | Blaise Tapp

Like everybody else, I have been learning to make the most of life’s small pleasures again, given that our once packed social calendar has been wiped clean until further notice.

Saturday, 6th June 2020, 12:00 am
Gosport Market reopened in the High Street on Tuesday, June 2. Picture: Sarah Standing (020620-9447)

Catching up with old pals, discovering that I quite like gardening after all and finding out that I actually don’t mind sitting on the sofa to watch telly with the missus.

But the unavoidable truth is that this simpler life is more than a little boring, until last week when I took possession of a very special delivery – a box of eight pies.

These were not any old pies, but the finest pies the north, if not the UK, has to offer, delivered from deepest, darkest Cheshire, to my front door, made by a very clever old school pal of mine.

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These beauties are award winners and found their way on to my dinner plate via the magic of the internet.

Although I have been getting to the shops, I have become increasingly reliant on online purchases.

Although smaller firms have a significant internet presence, inevitably it is the big online retailers who are reaping the benefits of the shuttered economy. This must be a genuine concern for those smaller employers who are preparing to reopen their doors soon.

Prior to the madness, I was a fully paid-up member of the Shop Local Club but the lockdown has severely limited the choice of shoppers, who, if they need a product quickly, will turn to the big boys, rather than hunt around.

I cannot wait for high streets to reopen as they really are the beating heart of every community. But you cannot help fear for their future, considering that there is still so much apprehension among large sections of the population, who have decided to follow the lead of Dominic Cummings and exercise their own judgement. There are a significant number of us who are declining the government’s cautious invitation to venture outside more, because we listen to the concerns of leading scientists about the gradual easing of lockdown.

None of this is good for shopping centres, but when we can get out in big numbers, I only hope we can support the smaller businesses which make our nation tick.