COVID steals Christmas as local businesses continue to struggle through the pandemic

Derry Councillors call for people to support local businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic “hit our small traders particularly badly” at the monthly meeting of Derry City and Strabane council yesterday. Sinn Fein’s Councillor Duffy proposed a campaign to assist local traders and shops through the current struggle of the COVID-19 pandemic saying, “we have seen ourselves try to balance people’s health with people’s ability to operate their businesses in a safe, COVID secure way”.

The proposal, which received unanimous support, includes promotion of local businesses through advertising, online presence and social media. Councillor Duffy stated that the council need to commit to supporting local traders to get them and their families through Christmas in order for them to continue trading in the New Year and said she is “amazed at the talent we have on our doorstep”.

“I set up a social media page last week, just to test the water,” Councillor Duffy said, “and the uptake from local businesses has been huge and the reach of the page has already gone further than 30,000 people. This really showed me there is an appetite out there for people to shop local and what they really want is to know what is available and I think that is where council comes in”.

Councillor Joe Boyle expressed the SDLP’s support of the campaign, saying “many businesses rely on custom during the months of November and December” and the months following Christmas can usually be difficult for businesses, even in normal circumstances. DUP’s David Ramsey further supported the proposal saying, “our families are employed locally, everyone is struggling” and urged the public to “look closer to home.

Councillor Duffy concluded the discussion with a plea to the public to “shop Derry and Strabane this Christmas”.