As we move gradually through Boris Johnson’s plan for reawakening the country from the Covid-19 lockdown in four stages, with a minimum of five weeks between each, we find ourselves in a period of reflection and anticipation. Looking back over the past year a whole new world has been foisted upon us, zoom, furlough, lockdown, home schooling, working from home, wearing a face covering, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising are but a few of the huge changes we have had to come to terms with.
People in all walks of life have been profoundly impacted upon by the pandemic. The work of the NHS, Social and Emergency Services, and the huge number of people who have volunteered their time and skills during this most extraordinary time is widely recognised and justifiably so. But this week, I would like to thank another group of people who have found themselves on the front line from day one, but are all too often somewhat forgotten and taken for granted.
I would like to focus my thanks on behalf of the wider Bridport community to the people that work in the commerce and business community who have continued to serve and support us, and without whom we would have found ourselves in dire straits.
During the past week I have visited as many businesses in the Bridport Town Council area as I could to say a personal thank you. It has been an absolute privilege to speak to business owners and employees and hear about their experience of life during the pandemic.
I have been told about:
- many amazingly generous things that have been taking place behind the scenes to support vulnerable groups and individuals.
- how businesses have been supporting volunteer groups and charities.
- how businesses have had to adapt their operation in order to continue to meet us, their customers, face to face.
- how businesses have had to develop an on line presence in order to continue to serve us.
- employees that have been more than generous with their time in order to enable the business to continue to function.
- the challenges of maintaining basic social distancing rules when working in someone’s home in order to, for example, repair a broken boiler.
Unfortunately, I have also been told about some less than positive experiences people on the retail front line have had. Not everyone in our community has been happy to conform to the basic social safety measures we have been asked to adhere to when we visit public spaces; sanitise, wear a mask and social distancing. Incidences of verbal abuse when interacting with some customers are not uncommon and leave employees feeling vulnerable.
It would be an extremely long blog if I were to set out to thank every business and all their staff individually. The following collection of images represent some of the businesses I was able to visit. Where only one image relating a particular business sector appears please regard it a representing my thanks on behalf of the people of Bridport to all those working in that sector across the town. Whether you are a Bank teller, Bin man, Electrician, Fishmonger, Milkman, Plumber, Postman, Solicitor, Taxi Driver or Undertaker you are all equally valued.
Moving gradually through Boris Johnson’s plan for reawakening the country from the Covid-19 lockdown in four stages, other business sectors will be able to reopen. Our ‘non essential’ businesses such as barbers, cafes, hairdressers, pubs, restaurants etc are all busy preparing to greet us once again. Like the businesses that have served us so well through this difficult period they are looking forward to greeting and serving us once again. In the coming months and years our custom will ensure their survival and with them the future of our vibrant high street and wider business community.
The experience of the past few days has reinforced my pride in the people who serve and support us all in the community we call home – Bridport.
Next time you visit or use one of our businesses please remember to say thank you. Though the best way to say thank you is to Shop Local.