Bideford’s town centre business owners are urging people to eat, drink and shop local as they reemerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

Bideford's town centre traders are urging people to support local businesses as they reopen from the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Matt SmartBideford's town centre traders are urging people to support local businesses as they reopen from the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Matt Smart

Independent businesses have been reopening their doors and welcoming back customers, and with bars and cafes also able to open from July 4, traders are calling on people to show their support.

Like all businesses, the traders in Mill Street, Cooper Street and Market Place have been making sure they are ‘Covid secure’, with distance markers, hand sanitising stations and guidance for customers to help limit the spread of the virus.

Fiona Biggs, who owns Hip and Waisted, said: “As a collective and as a community we are standing strong and bouncing back.

“We’ve had good support from the locals, both during lockdown and since reopening and we are looking forward to welcoming back the visitors.

“We’ve got more people opening back up and new businesses coming in – we’re very much alive and kicking.

“The town is coming alive, the hanging baskets look really fabulous, Bideford is now open and we’re ready to welcome visitors back.”

Shore Drift owner Katie Caley added: “Locals have been really supportive and continue to be so, so we would like to say a big thank you from all of us.

“We’re all making little adjustments and we’re all working together. We’ve done everything we can and it’s nice to have everybody back in again.”

Adjustments have been both big and small – Silk Lounge owner David Allan said he had acquired more land to be able to welcome customers back on July 4.

He said: “It’s been really tough. A lot of retail shops are now back open and there’s a lot more footfall back in Bideford, and with hospitality coming back as well – fingers crossed it will bring more people into the town.”

Exposure Photo Gallery owner Richie Norvill said the independent traders had pulled together even more as a result of the pandemic.

“We’re all in the same boat, and we’ve been helping each other out and it’s helped us move forward,” he said.

“We’re not big national corporations, we’ve been doing what we can to look after each other.”