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By Hugh Boag
Arran will see the biggest easing of lockdown restrictions next week when many shops on the island reopen their doors to welcome customers back.
It is some welcome good news amid continuing uncertainty over ferry capacity and the opening up of the island to tourism and local shoppers are being urged to get out and support the retail trade.
There was a sigh of relieve for small businesses when it was announced that non-essential shops in Scotland are allowed to open from next week. Many retailers, who have had to remain closed since the end of March, are busy behind the scenes working to make their shops safe and COVID-19 protected.
It is with no doubt that the past three months have been, and continue to present, a challenging time for retail as they navigate through the COVID crisis. Most non-essential retail shops will be opening on Monday June 29, and if not that day, on other days throughout the week, so it is worth checking your favourite store.
The Shop Arran facebook page which is normally reserved for the Christmas shopping weekend at the end of the year is being given a facelift and will be used more pro-actively to help promote Shop Arran member businesses.
Among those opening are Lynn Walker, of Chameleon Boutique in Lamlash who said: ‘I am looking forward to re-opening and welcoming my customers back to the shop. Initially we will open three days a week. Due to social distancing measures I am also offering customers personal appointments on other days if they wish to avoid “queuing” or would like to come as a group. – just get in touch!’
Andrew Walsh of Arran Active in Brodick said: ‘Like others we have used lockdown to rethink the layout of our store, in part to allow for greater physical distancing. But for me the most positive aspect of re-opening is to be able to offer islanders a slice of normality, albeit a changed normal. That said I think people have been clocking up miles and miles on lockdown walks, so we have lots of walking shoes for tired feet!’
Next door Driftwood and the Taste of Arran shop are also reopening and the mini golf will be back in play.
Over in Machrie Lorna Gunaydi of the Old Byre Showroom said: ‘We are delighted to be opening our shops again and to welcome you into our new Shoe Bothy. Working hard behind the scenes we have used lockdown to change the layout of our shops at Machrie and can now offer an inspiring visitor experience. The Byre at Brodick will also partially reopen. We are also happy to offer appointments out with opening hours and have in place all relevant government guidance.’
Janelle Paton, Janelles in Lamlash said: ‘I am so looking forward to restarting the business and welcoming all my lovely customers again. If some customers would prefer to view on their own they can get in touch to arrange.’
Stacey Smith of Red Door in Brodick said: ‘We can’t wait to welcome our lovely customers back to Red Door! To ensure a safe shopping experience, we will be operating with a “one household group at a time” policy. Those who are shielding can just give us a call to arrange a dedicated time to visit the shop while it is closed to the public so you don’t have to queue. We can’t wait to see you and show you all our new goodies!’
Tracy Gibson, Island Porcelain in Lamlash said: ‘It will be lovely to open my doors to welcome everyone again. Island Porcelain will be open for three days initially but I’m happy to arrange a suitable time outwith those days, should anyone require it.’
Lynn added: ‘Suffice to say, they are all looking forward to welcoming you back and for your continued support in helping Arran to get back on its feet.’
Detailed opening times can be found on the Shop Arran facebook page, which will be updated as and when the information is known. Contact details for many of the shops can also be found on the We’re Open on page 12 of this week’s Banner for a final time.
Sign of the times. The crazy golf is ready to reopen on Monday along with Arran Active, Driftwood and the Taste of Arran shops in Brodick. 01_B26shops01