Hackney people encouraged to shop local for April 12 reopening
- Credit: Children's Air Ambulance
Shops across Hackney reopen today (April 12), so to mark the occasion Stoke Newington traders have created a hope-filled video urging people to shop local.
The video called Local Shop, Local Hope was released by independent retailers ahead of the reopening of non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality, following months of closure and restrictions.
It invites residents to browse local bookshops, sit outside at their favourite cafe and even have a haircut.
It talks of the loss and isolation felt by traders and the community, as well as sacrifices made for the greater good.
Heidi Early of Earlybird Designs, said: “It’s hard to watch the video without feeling emotional but overall, our message is one of hope.
"We’ve come through these awful times – many have adapted to better serve our customers. We’ve missed the human interaction terribly and we’re determined to make up for lost time.”
The video shows traders decorating their shops for reopening and removing "closed" signs from windows.
It ends with the message: “Let’s reclaim the time we’ve lost and support each other.”
Many local traders adapted to the first lockdown a year ago by launching or focusing on their online shops.
Shop owner Heidi says businesses like hers have been supported by web services like My Virtual Neighborhood, set up at the start of the pandemic.
The website, created by Jenna and Basil Fansa, lists independent businesses by neighbourhood and highlights how they serve online. Heidi says it has been a major source of referrals for Earlybird Cards and described it as a "lifeline".
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Basil said: “The changes local traders have made are here to stay – most will continue to offer delivery or click and collect but we’re delighted to see them throwing open their doors again.
"They play a vital role in community life and are crucial to local economies. This video, produced by local traders, sums things up perfectly. Times have been hard but they’re positive and they’re looking to the future.”
The Gazette encourages Hackney customers and businesses to share their experiences on Monday (April 12) as well as pictures and videos so we can help drum up support through our Shop Local campaign. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
And here is all the information you need about the April 12 ‘Step 2’ phase.
Which businesses can reopen?
Retail outlets deemed "non-essential" will be allowed to reopen their doors from Monday, April 12.
Personal care businesses such as hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons will also be able to welcome customers once again.
And indoor gyms and spas can open, though saunas and steam rooms will have to wait at least another five weeks.
What else is changing?
Overnight stays away from home in England will be allowed, while self-contained holiday lets and accommodation can reopen. They must only be used by members of the same household or bubble, however.
Residents in care homes can now have two different visitors, where they had previously been limited to just one.
Indoor parent and child groups of up to 15 people – not including children under five – can restart.
Up to 30 people will be able to attend funerals to say a final goodbye to loved ones, while other commemorative events like weddings, outdoor receptions and wakes can have up to 15 people.
And a Covid-status certification system will be developed over the next few months, which the government says will allow higher-risk settings to reopen more safely and with more people.
It will take into account vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity (based on a positive test in the last six months). Pilots will take place from the middle of this month.
What's still to come?
Changes to social contact will still have to wait until at least May 17, when the government says it will look at easing limits on seeing and interacting with friends and family.
It is at this point when the rule of six may be extended to indoor settings.
Pubs and restaurants will have to wait at least another five weeks until they can welcome customers indoors again. It is hoped most other indoor businesses will be able to reopen by the middle of May.
May 17 is also when the rest of the accommodation sector, such as hotels and B&Bs, may be able to reopen.
This is also the mooted date for the resumption of indoor performances – to a socially-distanced crowd – while large outdoor arenas may be able to welcome a crowd up to a quarter of its capacity.
By June 21, it is hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed, while remaining businesses such as nightclubs might finally be able to welcome customers once again.