After what has been a long, dark winter, this last week things seem to be a lot brighter, as mornings and evenings get lighter, and crocuses open up and the daffodils are beginning to bud, writes John Turner.
And the first minister’s announcement on Tuesday of the proposed dates on the journey out of lockdown have only added to the feeling that spring is definitely on the way.
Uncertainty is a killer for businesses, and as a business owner and business representative it is therefore a huge relief to be able to write some dates in the diary and begin to make plans for reopening at last.
To summarise the timetable:
From April 5: Homeware stores, garden centres and (most importantly!) hairdressers and barbers can reopen. Non-essential shops can also resume a click & collect service.
From April 26: Non-essential shops, beauty salons and indoor gyms can reopen. Cafes, bars and restaurants will be able to serve food and alcohol outside to groups of up to 6 people each from up to three households, and serve food (but not alcohol) inside to groups of up to 4 people each from 2 households. (Track and trace details will need to be kept by the business owners for three weeks). Social distancing rules must be properly observed.
From May 17: The rules will hopefully be further relaxed when it is hoped that all areas will go down to Level 2, and for example cinemas will be able to reopen and alcohol will be able to be served indoors.
So we are getting there, slowly but surely, as long as we all continue to play our part, wear masks, keep socially distanced and get vaccinated when called to do so (I had mine earlier this week).
I was also very pleased to hear that the furlough scheme has been extended, and further grants will be made to businesses to help them as they rebuild after the lengthy lockdown.
The Byres Road & Lanes BID had joined with others in lobbying both Westminster and Holyrood that business support funding should not be cut off as soon as lockdown was over, but there would need to be continuing support for businesses for a period, while consumer confidence grows, and footfall and sales begin to head back to something nearer normal, and obviously that is going to take some time.
The continued support is therefore very welcome.
So roll on April 26, when the businesses in Byres Road and the Lanes look forward to welcoming you back.
In the meantime, stay safe and take care.
- John Turner is the Chair of the Byres Road & Lanes Business Improvement District. He and his wife Janet run Janet & John Scottish Arts & Crafts in De Courcy’s Arcade, Cresswell Lane.