It’s beginning to look like normality again as people get out and about in Calderdale
Calderdale’s towns welcomed back the public en masse last weekend as people got out and about to soak up the sun.
The easing of lockdown restrictions has allowed the public to enjoy some of the freedoms they have long been denied during the Covid-19 pandemic, and their return to town centres were a welcome boost to local businesses.
Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, CEO at The Piece Hall Trust, said: “It was fantastic to see so many visitors come back through our gates and life return to The Piece Hall once again last weekend. The courtyard was a flurry of activity, the sun shone, our independent traders were busy and it really did feel like the start of a new chapter and a sign of hope for what is to come.
“The weekend was a huge success. We were able to welcome around 6,000 visitors safely through our gates over the course of the weekend who were greeted by friendly staff and the very best mix of retail and hospitality, all against the stunning backdrop of newly-installed greenery in the courtyard and a lighting display that came alive at night.
“For us, this weekend proved that people wanted to discover a safe space to enjoy themselves, safely, with friends and family. That’s exactly what The Piece Hall offered, and will continue to offer over the coming weeks – a unique blend of culture, heritage, retail and hospitality. “It’s a safe space and a happy place, and it came alive, once again, this weekend.”
Chloe McNeill, from Halifax BID, said: “It’s been incredible to see so many businesses in Halifax reopen and welcome back customers, all with a smile on their face.
“The atmosphere in Halifax over the last week has been so positive, everybody seems so happy to just be out and about, catching up with friends and visiting their favourite shops, cafes and restaurants.
“Of course, not all of our Halifax businesses are in a position to reopen just yet, we’re so pleased to see people acting responsibly and impressed at the lengths the businesses have gone to in order to keep customers and staff safe, all of which will help us to move towards that next ‘Step 3’ date which will see inside hospitality and some of our fantastic visitor attractions like Eureka! able to reopen and welcome visitors back.”
Lesley Adams, co-chair of the Brighouse BID steering group, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the success of the reopening week in Brighouse.
“No one was entirely sure what to expect after the latest lockdown with many of us uncertain whether our customers would feel comfortable once again socialising in the town, but we were delighted to see so many people return.
“We have received fantastic support from our local community over the past year as we adapted to the pandemic and our first week back was no exception, with familiar faces and new visitors all stepping into Brighouse once again.
“From Monday through to the weekend, Brighouse bounced back to life. Footfall in the town centre is on the increase with visitors and the local community all returning to show their support and resume some feeling of normality.
“Visitor figures have increased from 242,000 at the end of March to 348,000 this past week.
“Visitors are respecting social distancing guidelines, even when walking around the town.
“Some shops have capacity limits, but customers are patiently waiting their turn outside. Likewise, bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas have people waiting for a space but with everyone respecting each other’s boundaries.
“We’re pleased that everyone is acting responsibly so that we can all enjoy a taste of normal life.” Alison Bartram, of the Hebden Bridge Business Forum, said: “After another three months unable to open we were delighted at Heart Gallery to finally welcome our customers back safely again last week. It was clear that people were so excited to get out and finally spend in person and actually speak to us and each other; conversations were wonderfully exhuberant!
“There is such a unique independent spirit here in Hebden Bridge and Heart Gallery is really proud to have been part of this for nearly 15 years. Our local community is a loyal one and it’s been great to see all our regulars popping in this week to welcome us back; it really has been heart-warming.
“The weather continued to be kind over the weekend which brought so many visitors to Hebden Bridge to enjoy our outdoor hospitality and wander around all the retail outlets now finally hearing their tills ring. Saturday sales exceeded expectations which was much needed encouragement for us and the rest of the town as we all readjust once more.
“It is sincerely hoped that this initial support for small independent businesses continues post-lockdown as Hebden Bridge has so much to offer locals and visitors alike.”