A new Live Love Local campaign has been launched to urge people to support local businesses as North Devon’s high streets begin to open up after coronavirus lockdown.

With news parts of the hospitality sector can reopen from Saturday, July 4, North Devon Council’s new campaign seeks to encourage people to buy local and use local businesses, while adhering to Covid-19 restrictions.

It aims to encourage residents to shop, buy and eat locally, injecting money into the local economy to help it recover from the damage caused during the pandemic.

This includes making lifestyle choices that will help protect the natural environment in North Devon and taking advantage of the shops, restaurants and leisure facilities on our doorstep to reduce the impact on the environment.

The council is asking businesses and residents to use the hashtag #LiveLoveLocal in any social media posts involving local shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities, adding #BarnstapleBackToBusiness for Barnstaple-based businesses.

Councillor Malcolm Prowse, lead member for economic development and regeneration at the council, said: “It has always been really important for people to ‘buy local’ whenever possible to support the local economy and environment, but never more so than now as more of our businesses start to re-emerge from lockdown and valiantly work to repair the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Shopping, eating and buying locally will be vital to that recovery so we urge our residents to get behind our Live Love Local campaign and support local businesses wherever they can.

“Ensuring our hospitality and tourism businesses can begin to reopen safely is likely to involve us making temporary changes to licensing and amenities in the areas of the district that host the majority of our hospitality sector.

“It will be crucial to the successful recovery of North Devon that we continue to follow the guidelines set by government to ensure we do not risk a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

“But we must also provide the public with reassurance that it is safe to come back and enjoy the retail and hospitality that we do so well in our beautiful district. Please help us do that by supporting the Live Love Local campaign.”

Information on reopening businesses is available on the council’s website at www.northdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus/reopening-your-business .