Shoppers across Scotland are being urged to support the battle against coronavirus by thinking safety first and local first.

And everyone can play their part in reducing the risk of Covid-19 spreading while also helping people at the heart of their communities through the pandemic.

That’s the message from the team behind the Scotland Loves Local campaign, the national drive for shoppers to think local first wherever they can.

Spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), with the support of the Scottish Government, it urges people to show support for their local shops and services within all rules on face coverings, social distancing and hand hygiene.

Strathallan Times:

Hand sanitiser and safety advice as displayed at a shop in Paisley town centre

Phil Prentice, STP’s chief officer, said: “It’s vital that we all stay safe and follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS guidance.

“Thinking local first for our shopping and other services goes a long way towards helping reduce the risk of the virus spreading by minimising travel while also supporting businesses in your community.

“Businesses in our town centres have shown tremendous resilience and innovation in recent months, adapting their premises to ensure we can shop and use services safely, whether for groceries or haircuts. Many have also expanded what they do online and via home deliveries to meet customers’ needs in every way.

“The ways in which they have been there for us are remarkable. Now it’s time for us to be there for them, whether shopping in person or online. Your entire community will feel the benefit.”

It is hoped that the great community pride seen throughout the pandemic can be embraced to build stronger town centres for the future.

Results of a poll commissioned by STP show that most Scots prefer to shop local and realise the importance of doing so.

It found that:

  • 56% of people will always shop on their local high street rather than going further afield, whenever they can do so.
  • 93% believe there is a strong chance that many businesses on the local high street will go bust if people don’t support them.
  • Almost 90% say it’s vital that people in their community support businesses on their local high street.

The results have been welcomed by Scotland’s Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell.

She said: “There has never been a more important time to consider supporting local businesses whether by visiting your local town centre or sampling what local digital businesses have to offer.

“It is great news that the majority of Scots are keen to do just that and we know money spent locally is more likely to stay in the local economy.

“We all have a part to play in Scotland’s economic recovery and can do so, whilst we look out for one another and follow the FACTS guidance.”

Strathallan Times:

Heather Atkinson, of Barber & Groom in Gourock has ensures her customers and staff are properly protected as part of efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19

Mr Prentice says the impact of people supporting their high streets is profound - with every pound spent locally is re-spent six times in the area’s economy.

“Thinking local first protects jobs, is better for the environment and helps make our communities better places to live,” he added.

  • For more information on the Scotland Loves Local campaign, go to www.lovelocal.scot and follow #ScotlandLovesLocal on social media.