PLEASE shop local and keep your high street alive – that’s the message from Cockermouth business owners as a second national lockdown was announced.

They say there’s never been a more crucial time for people to shop in their local independent stores, pick up food and drink from their local hospitality businesses, and stay loyal to their local tradespeople and service providers.

Andrew Marshall, chairman of Cockermouth and District Chamber of Trade, said: “We all know that something has to be done to slow the spread of coronavirus but this new lockdown is a scary time for independent businesses.

“I know the temptation is going to be to simply get online and try to order all your Christmas shopping from the big national and international names, but I would urge everyone to contact the businesses on your high street first.

"Ring your local shop or restaurant or cafe, send them an email, message them on social media, or even stick a note through their door – that’s what makes local businesses so special. They will go above and beyond with their customer service to try to get you what you need.

“Here in Cockermouth, loads of businesses are staying open until 7pm this week, before lockdown starts on Thursday, to help you get ahead of the Christmas rush.

“Lots of local businesses are offering free local delivery – and the Chamber of Trade is trying to help with that as much as possible, and we’re working with Cockermouth Emergency Response Group to help the most vulnerable residents too.

“If your local high street goes downhill, that has far-reaching effects on house prices and the economy so, please, love where you live, support local and shop local. And, please, follow the government guidelines so we can try to get things under control – the sooner the better.”