Shoppers enjoy city centre treats as Lancaster and Morecambe begin to return to normal with reopening of shops, cafes and pubs
Shoppers were finally able to return to Lancaster and Morecambe en masse this week after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions saw non-essential shops reopen, alongside cafes, pubs, beauty salons and gyms.
A campaign to welcome people back to the city centre kickstarted the week in Lancaster.
Bunting adorned the key entrance points into the city centre, with its bespoke design containing subtle references to the city centre and aiming to bring some colour to the streets and a smile to people's faces.
Lancaster BID's ‘Love Local, Love Lancaster’ campaign aims to remind customers of the importance of safely returning to support businesses as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
Signs were also hung in the windows of empty properties – and Marketgate Shopping Centre is hosting a 2.4m tall illuminated heart courtesy of Blachere Illuminations.
And from Monday, the Lancaster BID team were out and about in the city centre to welcome people back and to say thank you for supporting local businesses, as well as performing random acts of kindness such as buying coffee, haircuts and small purchases for shoppers.
Business was booming for many cafes and pubs which were able to open with outdoor space, although unfortunately for The Borough in Lancaster's Dalton Square, they took to Facebook to say they were now having to ask for deposits in advance after several groups failed to show up on Monday.
Gyms and beauty salons across the district also threw open their doors this week, with many taking the opportunity to get a much-needed haircut or burn off some lockdown calories.
3-1-5 health club in Caton Road held an morning outdoor workout session as a special welcome to members.
Graham Cass from Jo and Cass beauty salons reassured anyone booking an appointment that alongside all the previous safety measures in place, all staff were having a lateral flow Covid test every day to further protect their clients.
Motorists were also taking the chance to get their cars cleaned after a long wait, with Dana car wash in Bulk Road in particular seeing long queues forming throughout the day.
In Morecambe, traffic was being diverted for the day on Tuesday while filming took place for the third series of ITV drama The Bay, but this didn't stop shoppers and visitors returning to enjoy the sunshine, shops, cafes and pubs.
Lancaster City Council reminded people to give everyone space as they return to the shops.
"Businesses have been working hard to ensure that your shopping experience is as safe as possible," they said. "Help to keep our high street health by shopping locally and give everyone space."
The council also reminded businesses operating in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, gyms and non-essential retail sectors that applications are now being invited for government restart grants are available to apply for as one-off payments to help these businesses to reopen.