By Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council
This Saturday we will see the reopening of even more local businesses in our borough – pubs and bars, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and barbers as well as hotels and B&Bs.
In Merton we have 6,000 businesses of varying sizes, but a great proportion of those are small businesses, family firms, local companies. As these businesses begin to open once again, the support of you, their customers, has never been more important.
That is why my message to you is clear; come and show your support to your local traders – they need your custom to stay alive.
Support doesn’t need to be a physical presence; below are four ways you can help your local traders get through these tough financial times.
As a business-friendly council. we’ve done what we can to help. We’ve given out more cash grants to businesses than almost any other London boroughs and are continuing to do so with the launch of phase two of the discretionary grants programme. This will allow more local small businesses to apply for a one-off payment to help them through the coronavirus crisis. The funding for the programme comes from the Government’s Local Authority Grant Fund, something which we, together with other London councils, have campaigned hard for.
We are also helping you get around the borough as safely as possible, we’ve made some temporary changes to roads and pavements across the borough, providing space for you to walk and cycle more safely. This is a key step to help support local businesses as they begin to reopen.
Finally, I’d like to remind you to continue to stay alert. Although the lockdown is easing, this is still a period of high risk. The responsibility for controlling the virus sits with us as residents and it’s down to us to continue to follow the public health advice – maintain social distancing and wash your hands regularly. Read our shop local and shop safe article for tips on visiting the high street.
Thank you for reading and stay safe.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis
Leader of Merton Council
Ways to support your local businesses:
- Shop locally shop online: Many smaller businesses who have not previously offered an online service may have started during lockdown, so check to see if you can support your local trader through their website as well as in person.
- Order takeaway food and drink: Although many restaurants and cafes had to close their doors to traders for table service, many reopened for takeaway and delivery. With a reduction in the number of customers that can be served in restaurants due to social distancing, many small businesses may start or continue to offer a takeaway service. So rather than turning to the big delivery platforms, give your local restaurant a call or pop to your favorite café instead.
- Leave good reviews: A good way to support your local business is to follow them on social media or leave a good review online. This will not only help to spread the word of how the business has adapted during lockdown, but will also reach new audiences and show people their business is a safe place to shop.
- Reschedule missed appointments: To assure local businesses that they still have your business, reschedule an appointment for a future date.