Ryan Fuller, the leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, writes for The Hunts Post.
“Almost six months on from when the country first went into lockdown, and as we begin to see many of the parts of our lives that have been affected returning to some form of normality, albeit in slightly different ways, it seems appropriate to reflect.
At Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) we have been working hard to administer and deliver a range of support for residents and businesses. This included the option for people to take a Council Tax holiday, distributing different tranches of Government funding to local businesses and delivering the reopening of our high streets with the launch of our #ReopeningHuntingdonshire campaign.
We have also been promoting the Government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative by creating a directory for the public to see which establishments are taking part across the district. I am pleased to have seen so many eateries choosing to take part in the scheme and lots of people visiting them to support the hospitality industry.
COVID-19 has affected how we all live our lives but I hope that one of the benefits of people spending more time in their local area is that they have recognised the value of what is available in our high streets and the importance of supporting our local businesses.
Never has the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ been more relevant and we can all play a small part in supporting the high street as our local economy continues to recover from the unprecedented challenges it has had to endure. I know that some people think councils decide which shops open on our high streets, but we don’t; local people do by choosing where they spend their money. Shops and other businesses won’t survive if people don’t use them.
Whilst HDC is now able to scale down its initial emergency response, we are fully committed to supporting the recovery phase for Huntingdonshire’s residents and businesses.
I urge people to continue practising safe behaviours, such as wearing face coverings where required and observing social distancing. Our collective behaviour is the only way we can continue to see coronavirus case numbers stay low in Huntingdonshire and avoid local lockdowns which other parts of the UK are currently enduring. Our local economy and our Huntingdonshire community will bounce back and recover but to what degree and how quickly is very much dependent on us all playing our own part.”