CHRISTMAS shoppers are being urged to ‘think local first’ as Ryedale’s small shops and businesses reopen next week.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the second coronvirus lockdown will end on December 2 and the country will move back into a tier system, allowing non-essential firms to open.

However, Carolyn Frank, FSB Development Manager North Yorkshire, said that while the announcement brought relief for many of Ryedale’s small businesses, the impact of the lockdown on the local economy had yet to be known.

She said: “Many of our local businesses are carrying uncertainty and financial worries into the new year, and will be relying on a Christmas uplift, so I encourage people to use local businesses where possible to help them survive the pandemic – our message is to “think local first”. “The announced end of the 10pm curfew will be a welcome one for those especially in the food and drink sector, for which our area is renowned, and the many businesses who supply the sector here who also need a boost. “Hairdressers and beauty therapists too, who have worked hard to ensure they are Covid-safe will be pleased to be able to remain open and continue trading after what has been a tumultuous year for them.

“We are blessed in Ryedale with a wide range of innovate and tough small business owners who have shown their resilience throughout the pandemic, small businesses are at the heart of our community here and as residents we are all relying on them more than ever.”

Carolyn said: “Small businesses are doing all they can to help us all through lockdown and beyond in the most difficult trading year ever, so we need to be sure they have the right level of support not just at the festive period, but for their future too, from residents and local and national government.”

Liz Kemp, owner of Kemps General Store inMalton, said: “As a non essential business we are clearly relieved that we can reopen next week along with our business colleagues in beauty, hair and hospitality.

“The FSB are correct on saying that times have been extremely challenging for all businesses and the uncertainty and lack of support for many sectors and individuals seems unfair.

Liz said: “This is the ‘golden quarter’ for businesses like ours and the trade in these months keeps us going through the lean months of the new year.

“Local businesses and Ryedale District Council (RDC) have in the main gone above and beyond to make their environments and procedures Covid safe and adapt to be able to continue to meet the needs of our customers throughout 2020 whatever the lockdown status has been.

Liz added: “We ask everyone to think about where and how they shop for Christmas and beyond.

“Help keep local communities thriving, jobs local and high streets interesting and vibrant.”

Meanwhile, RDC is urging people to help keep the “R” rate down in Ryedale, after the Covid escalation rate spiked in the district.

Figures from Public Health England showed there was a very sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 of population in Ryedale in November.

Whilst the latest information indicates that the escalation rate has now reduced, the Council and public health officials are urging residents to keep protecting one another to avoid another spike.

Cllr Keane Duncan, Leader of Ryedale District Council, said: “People in Ryedale have been very responsible and have respected the guidance on staying safe during the pandemic.

“Nevertheless, there was a spike in the figures in November, so we mustn’t get complacent.

“We all want to get through this lockdown and enjoy Christmas with our families, so we must keep following the health guidance and keep protecting one another.”

For more information and to book a test go to or by calling 119.

There are mobile testing facilities at Thornton-le-Dale and Malton.