Newport chamber head welcomes shops return

Written by on June 18, 2020

The long-awaited reopening of Newport’s town centre shops as the lockdown is eased is a “must” according to the head of the town’s chamber of commerce.

St Mary’s Street in Newport, one of the main shopping streets

Many of the town’s shops have been reopening this week, after the government announced that ‘non-essential’ businesses could begin serving customers again from Monday.

Patrick Beech is the chair of the Newport Chamber of Commerce and is delighted that the town’s shops can begin trading again.

“I think it is a must for the economy. It is make or break, it’s got to be.

“We welcome the shops back, it’s been very quiet in the High Street the last three months.

“I have gone around to some shops to welcome them back, I think they will need some encouragement.

“It is a shame they’re not all open but they are gradually coming back. We have seen the difference in the traffic and the parking, we welcome it.”

Mr Beech noted that some shops have not yet resumed their trading and said he hopes that they are soon able to return.

‘Shopping isn’t the same as it was’

He spoke approvingly of Newport Town Council’s new ‘Choose Newport’ promotional campaign, which is encouraging people to spend their money in Newport as shops reopen and the lockdown is eased.

Promotional material, paper shopping bags and stickers have been produced for the Choose Newport brand and it has been showcasing some of Newport’s many independent shops on its social media feeds.

“I think [business owners] have appreciated it because they have been away for so long.

“I just hope it doesn’t spark anything off.

“Shopping isn’t the same as it was, we’ve got to stand apart. Shopping isn’t very friendly at the moment. They need some encouragement.

“Time will tell but I think it is a step in the right direction.”

Town mayor Peter Scott who helped set up Choose Newport said that the town has been busier this week since shops reopened.

“It looks quite busy – more signage out but queues aren’t too bad.

“The response [to Choose Newport] is very positive.”

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