PEOPLE headed back into York to enjoy a slower pace of shopping as many retailers opened for the first time since March yesterday (Monday).

Some traders had been uncertain about how busy they would be, with many choosing shorter opening hours to test the water.

A steady stream of customers ambled through the streets, with pent-up demand leading to queues at some shops following the three-month lockdown.

The Press Love Local Business campaign launched yesterday to coincide with the reopening of the high street, urging readers to spend their pounds with York retailers. The campaign will be showcasing what makes York special, focusing on different businesses, and action to help the city recover.

York Press:

Julian Sturdy, York Outer MP, said: “I warmly support the Love Local Business campaign, and commend The Press for taking a lead on this. The prosperity and variety of our city depends to a huge extent on local businesses, and right now we need to back them like never before.

“Coronavirus has been a body blow for York businesses, especially in the hospitality and tourism sector, and the recent prediction by the Local Enterprise Partnership that we could see 17,500 job losses must be a call to action, to prevent this coming true.

"Thankfully, we all have the power to do our bit to help by shopping local as businesses reopen.

York Press:

"I have been taking steps since the beginning of the outbreak, and last week pressed City of York Council to relax licensing and planning rules for cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars to utilise space outside their premises to increase their capacity, so they can re-open viably in due course while maintaining essential safety measures.”

York Designer Outlet reopened with a number of brands, along with shops in the Coppergate Centre whose manager Pippa Unwin said: “We have had a good start to the reopening. It has been great to see people following the guidelines, maintaining social distancing and enjoying a different pace of shopping.

“There has been a steady stream of people, which has given stores the perfect opportunity to test out their new safety measures.

"All of the planning appears to be working well. How this translates as more shops open and consumer confidence starts to return remains to be seen, but today has been a positive step forward, and hopefully bodes well for the new way that people will engage with the high street whilst restrictions remain in place.”

She said their food outlets - Cattle Shed, YO31 Wood Fired Pizza and Scoops - had continued operating while the big stores were closed. “They are perfect examples of why The Press’s Love Local Business campaign is important - they fit perfectly alongside the big name stores to provide a great city centre experience.”

York Press:

The Press Love Local Business campaign has won the support The York BID

York Retail Forum chair Phil Pinder reported positive feedback from city traders. “There are lots of safety measures in the shops, screens up, queueing systems, rules on what you can and can’t touch. I feel positive by how people are taking to it. I do think a lot of shops are seeing a good turnout.”

Welcoming Love Local, he said: “Shopping local obviously is a sure way to retain your local high street. I mean all the shops - big and small retailers, but most important of all, the independents. A few pounds spent with them means such a lot. York is a special place. We have the perfect high street with a good mixture of national brands and independents.”

Andrew Waller, City of York Council executive member for economy and strategic planning, said: “It is important for local businesses, independent businesses, to have the support from customers. It is about showing that those businesses have made the effort to improve safety and create a safe environment.

"We hope that people are encouraged that it is a good environment to be supporting local businesses.”

He added: “It is really good to have local businesses rallying round and supporting each other in whatever way they can.”

To be part of Love Local Business, share your business's story and any news by emailing Business Editor Nadia Jefferson-Brown at 

To become a sponsor or advertise under our Love Local banner, email Advertising Director Jane Hanson at 

* Barnitts' boss Paul Thompson said the opening day on Monday was 'about survival and saving livelihoods'. Read the full interview here.