Efforts to support town centre businesses by ensuring they can safely offer delivery and click and collect services are being ramped up ahead of the forthcoming national lockdown restrictions.
Although non-essential retailers and hospitality businesses must close their doors to the public as of 00.01am on Thursday (November 5), they are permitted to offer a click and collect service or delivery of orders placed over the phone or via the internet.
The council’s town centre team is working with businesses to ensure they understand the rules they can operate under during lockdown and that any contact with customers is as safe as possible.
A dedicated webpage highlighting businesses in the town centre that are offering delivery and/or click and collect as part of the ‘From your Darlington Town to you’ campaign – as well as a list of essential stores and services that will remain open – can be found at www.enjoydarlington.co.uk/deliveries
This webpage is being updated daily, alongside the #LoveDarlo Facebook page.
The town centre team are also working with those businesses who do not yet have an online presence to see if there is anything they can do to support them in getting online.
During the lockdown period the two hours free parking offer in all council car parks will continue to ensure people can access essential services.
The town’s Christmas decorations will also be installed as planned in November, including the Christmas tree, to make sure there is some festive spirit for visitors into December.
Councillor Alan Marshall, cabinet member for economy, said: “Our retailers depend on local people to shop with them if they are to survive – if we all turn to the internet for all of our Christmas shopping it will have a devasting impact on our High Street, both for our independent and national retailers.
“The website is an excellent resource and I’d encourage people to take a look at the list of businesses – they may even discover a hidden gem they didn’t know about.”
Councillor Kevin Nicholson, cabinet member for health and housing, said: “The national lockdown has been called in an attempt to cut transmission rates of coronavirus in the community and we urge people to stay at home as much as possible for the next four weeks.
“However, there is a balance to be struck and it is important that we support our businesses who have already made it through so much this year. We will be working hard to ensure all businesses continue operate in a safe and responsible way."