Coronavirus: It’s business as usual in Craven Arms
Craven Arms is safe, and very much open for business – that’s the message from independent traders who are urging shoppers to support the town’s hard-working retailers.
The town was given the all-clear in early August after an outbreak of coronarivus which was contained to a nearby travellers site.
Local traders have been open as usual, and are now encouraging people to show their support at a time when it is needed the most.
Sue Phillips, partner at Newington Garage, the garden machinery specialists on Shrewsbury Road. said:-
“We can promise people safe service with a smile.
“We had just started to do well again before the outbreak. Now we need to let people know that it is safe for them to come back to Craven Arms.
“In fact I’d say that with all the measures which have been taken recently, it must be one of the safest places around.”
Harry Delves, from Tuffins supermarket, said his business was one of the lucky ones, able to continue trading through lockdown. But he said turnover was around 40% down since the outbreak:-
“We have been decimated by the recent situation. I think people are avoiding Craven Arms because there has been a lot of negative press: we need to say Craven Arms is open for business.
“Local officials did an incredible job, but it doesn’t seem to have got into the open world that Craven Arms is coronavirus-free.
“We want to be a hub for the community, and for everyone to be coming and buzzing around Craven Arms again.”
Liam Magill is the owner of DM Wall & Son butchers on Corvedale Road, and said he had certainly seen a fall-off in passing trade since the coronavirus outbreak.
“The message is that it’s business as usual for us and other traders – we are all still open, and it is safe to come and visit us.”
Laila’s Café owner Naomi Denton said her business, like others around the town, were ‘as safe as they possibly could be’.
She said her café had been redecorated with wipeable walls and surfaces, a one-way system, and protective screens on the counters.
Around a third of tables have also been removed to ensure that two metre social distancing can be observed, and cleaning schedules have been heightened.
“We just need people to come back and have the confidence that we are doing the right things. We need people to understand that Craven Arms is COVID-19-clean.
“We should be celebrating how well the authorities and the residents did. To manage to contain the outbreak to one site, with no outbreak into the community, is something to be proud of.
“We need people to come back and realise that Craven Arms is open for business – we are still here waiting.”
Lee Chapman, a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, and chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“This has been a challenging time for the Craven Arms community, but I would like to express my sincere gratitude for their continued co-operation.
“I have nothing but admiration for the way people have pulled together and done their bit to help us stop the spread of the virus. People have followed the measures put in place to keep everyone safe, and nearly 400 residents took up the offer of testing. The fact that there were no confirmed cases outside of the Long Lane site speaks volumes.
“During the lockdown many of us turned to local providers who stepped into the breach to prevent shortages and to provide home deliveries. They provided a lifeline for many residents here in Craven Arms, by quickly adapted to providing an online or takeaway service for their products. Businesses have also worked extremely hard to keep customers safe by putting COVID-19-secure measures in place.
“Both the lockdown and Long Lane outbreak has had a massive impact on the local economy in Craven Arms. We now need to help local businesses get back on their feet.”
David Evans, also a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, added:
“This hasn’t been easy for everyone at Craven Arms, and I would like to praise their efforts in helping us contain the spread of the virus.
“We want everyone to enjoy everything our wonderful town has to offer. Our Shropshire Hills are part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and everyone who visits our community will be guaranteed a warm welcome.
“Like many towns and villages across the county, Craven Arms has been hit hard by this pandemic.
“They have sacrificed their businesses over an extended period to support and keep everyone safe. Now, we need to be there for them.
“I want to encourage everyone, wherever possible, to spend their hard-earned money with local businesses – whether that’s for food, items for the home, or a much-needed and missed service such as having your hair cut.
“Without that support our independent local businesses may not come through this and that would be a bad thing for all of us, for our local economy and our jobs.”