A new business leader in Elgin believes ensuring people feel safe in the town centre will be the key to attracting more shoppers.
Gemma Cruickshank, who has taken over as chief executive of the local business improvement district (Bid) from departing Gill Neill, wants to show the town “remains open for business” as it aims to recover from the pandemic.
She hopes to see hand sanitiser stations installed throughout the centre to reassure people and increase footfall.
Mrs Cruickshank, who previously worked for Visit Scotland and Visit Aberdeenshire, said: “I’m from Keith so I did a lot of growing up in Elgin.
“Elgin has always been really vibrant and there has been a lot of changes which I think are for the better.
“I want businesses to know we are here to help them through marketing and promoting that Elgin is open for business.
“I’m hoping to look into getting hand sanitiser stations throughout the centre to make people aware that Elgin is safe, and keep up to date with government guidance.
“Showing this is a safe town centre is a high priority. I want people to look forward to events like Christmas lights switch-on and we are currently in the process of exploring a way of still holding it despite the pandemic.”
In recent months, traders have fought against the reintroduction of parking charges in Elgin arguing that an extra six months was needed for firms to find their feet first.
Moray Council had argued that the money earned from the charges would be “significant” as it tries to recover from the £5.5 million cost of coronavirus on the authority.
In protest, Moray Chamber of Commerce co-signed a letter with Elgin Bid, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Visit Moray Speyside pleading for extra time.
After mounting public pressure, the council announced that parking charges would be delayed until end of this month.
On Wednesday, councillors will gather at an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss possibly extending that spell.
Mrs Cruickshank yesterday urged the council to consider delaying parking charges for as long as possible to help the town centre recover.
She added: “We want to encourage the council to hold off on parking charges so we can get back more visitors to the area, and it will be something less for people to worry about.”
Any businesses looking for support or advice can contact the new Elgin Bid boss by email at firstname.lastname@example.org