Written by on 8th April 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is asking residents to visit our wonderful high street businesses when COVID-19 restrictions allow as they launch their #ShopLocalRCT campaign – they are the heartbeat of our communities, have a unique and varied offer, and have recently made huge sacrifices to help us all stay safe.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, for several prolonged periods when case numbers of COVID-19 were high, non-essential businesses across the country have been asked to close by the UK and Welsh Governments to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. Local traders responded by closing or adapting their businesses – often putting their livelihoods on hold to support the NHS and to save lives.

The latest lockdown period has been in force since before Christmas, and due to case numbers now consistently dropping, Welsh Government has confirmed that all non-essential retailers can open their doors on a phased basis from Monday, April 12.

Through the new campaign, the Council is asking residents to #ShopLocalRCT this spring and summer – by visiting our local town centre retail areas more often and to spend their money locally where possible.

Over the coming weeks, the Council will be publishing video content on its social media accounts to promote the Shop Local message. We’ll be speaking to local businesses about how the pandemic has affected them and why their retail area is critical to reinvigorating the local economy and well worth a visit.

Local retail areas provide a hub for retail and key services, including butchers and florists, DIY stores, greengrocers, sports shops, cafés, bakeries, electronic stores, hairdressers, clothes shops, pubs, restaurants and more. Whatever you need, you can find here in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Keep an eye on the Council’s Facebook (‘Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’) and Twitter (‘@RCTCouncil’) accounts – which will be promoting a range of #ShopLocalRCT content from Aberdare, Ferndale, Llantrisant, Mountain Ash, Pontypridd, Porth, Tonypandy and Treorchy town centres.

Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Housing, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges across our society, and one of the hardest-hit areas is non-essential businesses, which have had to close for weeks on end at key times to help reduce the rates of COVID-19. The overall response of our traders has been fantastic, recognising the importance of closing their doors to protect others, while sacrificing the trading upon which they rely.

“Therefore, when the latest national restrictions are lifted and people can return to non-essential businesses from April 12, it is so important that we give this support back to local traders. The Council will be promoting the Shop Local message to convey the vast array of shops and services offered in local communities, each of which has its own unique appeal.

“The Council has supported local businesses over the past year, with a dedicated team helping owners to understand the latest restrictions and access a variety of funds and grants available to them – and the Council has processed and paid out over £75m of Welsh Government grant support for our traders during these unprecedented times.

“It is very positive news that businesses can soon start trading in a face-to-face capacity once again, with strict social distancing measures in place. We’re asking residents to do their bit by safely exploring their local retail areas to ensure a brighter future for traders.”

Town Centres will carry signage to keep us safe including queuing markers and pedestrian walking routes to ensure 2-metre social distancing – and members of the public are reminded they must continue to wear a face covering at all times when visiting premises indoors.

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