Shoppers are being encouraged to think “local first” and remember their “duty” to stay safe, as Covid restrictions for retailers are lifted.
Non-essential shops in mainland Scotland have been closed since December 26, but will once again be able to open their doors from today.
The 122-day closure followed an initial 97-day shutdown last spring, with retail experts estimating the measures have cost businesses sales worth £4.1 billion.
Among this, many shops have also invested in additional equipment and PPE to keep customers safe and ensure they comply with physical distancing rules.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has launched a new campaign reminding shoppers to queue considerably, keep a two-metre distance from others, wear face coverings and be respectful to staff.
Director David Lonsdale said: “Shops across Scotland are excited to be welcoming customers back after four long months of closure.
“Retailers have spent millions of pounds to make shops Covid-secure for customers and colleagues.
“We encourage Scots to get out and visit their favourite shops over the coming weeks knowing every purchase they make and every item they buy is a local job supported and a high street helped.
“Unlocking consumer spending will be central to Scotland’s economic recovery and to bouncing back quickly.
“While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops re-open, the real test will be how this holds up.”
Shoppers told ‘think local first’
Customers are also being encouraged not to venture too far from home when planning any upcoming shopping trips.
Scotland’s Towns Partnership is urging people to “put their local stores first,” following on from the launch of the Scotland Loves Local campaign last year.
By doing so, it is hopeful a “summer of success” can be sparked, boosting businesses in need of extra trade.
Chief officer Phil Prentice said: “By supporting your local businesses you will be helping the national recovery.
“The importance of today for those retail, hospitality and leisure businesses which have been unable to open since December cannot be underestimated.
“Their survival, however, depends on support.
“And the most critical support comes from their community.
“This is a chance to rediscover and celebrate all that’s on our doorstep.
“By supporting local businesses – whether when shopping or meeting friends – you are helping protect the jobs of those who live around you, safeguarding shops and services and making your community a better place to be.”
Mr Prentice added: “The road to recovery from coronavirus is going to be challenging.
“But we hope that today can signal the start of a summer of success, both in terms of beating the pandemic and for businesses bouncing back.
“Thinking local first – and safety first – will give the greatest chances of realising those hopes.”