When the first lockdown start to ease I treated myself to a much needed haircut. It had been a while so finding a locally based salon was important. I wanted to shop local and put some much needed money back into the local economy. Just a few days before the second lockdown started I made sure I had booked in for a trim. What a difference a few months made.
On my first visit it was a busy salon. There was a carefully thought through one way system, lots of Covid checks and social distancing. Lots of people were taking advantage of the chance to grab a haircut. But at the start of November there was a virtually empty shop and just two staff working. I found out just a few days ago that they are closing. The staff will be looking to become mobile hairdressers and the building will be closed and sold.
This is just one story. There are so many more. Businesses that had been thriving, busy and at the heart of local communities are being stretched. For many that could mean reaching breaking point and possibly the end of the road. How many businesses have you seen close this year?
This matters. Behind every business there are many people whose lives have been turned upside down. They may have lost their livelihood, their income and their purpose in life. As we are heading towards the festive season and a time when people are looking to spend money, please remember to support local businesses wherever possible.
The move to recovery has not yet happened but it will. We will need to find ways to rebuild not just our fractured lives but the shattered businesses. We need to keep the heart in our communities. PR and communication has played a key role in dealing with the impact of the pandemic and it has an important role to come. It will be instrumental in working with businesses to help them re-establish themselves in a post-Covid world.
Whatever you are doing in the coming weeks remember to support your local businesses. They need us all now more than ever.