Hambleton high streets have seen a successful and safe first week back in business following the COVID-19 crisis.

Non-essential shops, cafes and other businesses opened their doors to customers on Monday 15th July, in line with government guidance, following a twelve-week unprecedented national lockdown.

In the lead up to Monday, Hambleton District Council (HDC) in partnership with the county council, town and parish councils and local business networks, carried out much preparation work to make sure all appropriate measures were taken so both residents and visitors shopping, eating, drinking and socialising in our towns could do so safely.

Signage and floor markings were put in place, pinch points identified, and traffic management measures taken, so those using our town could do so as logically, easily and most importantly, as safely as possible.

Businesses across our towns were all provided with posters and floor stickers as part of HDC’s Enjoy Hambleton Safely campaign to help them make their business a COVID safe environment for both staff and customers.

Both Thirsk and Northallerton markets saw adjustments to their layout to allow for social distancing with posters and signage in place. The high street was closed to traffic in Northallerton on market day to allow for more space for both shoppers and traders to move around safely. Both markets were a huge success with many shoppers coming along to shop, enjoy browsing and to catch up with friends.

Going forward HDC will be closely monitoring the use of our high streets and reviewing and improving measures where necessary, with safety continuing to be our priority. We will also be continuing to offer support and assistance to businesses on a continuous basis during the recovery period.

Graham Bell, Manager of the Northallerton Business Improvement District, said: “It’s wonderful to see more and more businesses opening their doors again during a busy week of trading. Everyone is making huge efforts to make customers feel safe and stores are working particularly hard to ensure hygiene and social distancing guidelines are fully respected.”

Leader of HDC, Mark Robson said “What a great week for Hambleton – I’ve spent time in a few of our towns this week and what I’ve see is heart-warming. All the new social distancing guidance is being followed, people are quickly getting used to the necessary adjustments on the high street and have really come together as a community to make sure everyone can enjoy Hambleton safely.

“Our high streets have been busy with a real buzz about them with plenty of shoppers keen to shop local and support our recovery and I’ve had much positive feedback about the high street experience from both shoppers and traders. Our response as both a council and a community this week has been a real reminder of the spirit, resilience and positivity that makes our district so special.

“I’d like to thank all our traders, business owners, residents and visitors for making the first week of our new normal on the high streets such a success. Please be reassured we will continue to work hard and innovatively to support our district in bouncing back from this crisis”