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Gillingham high street
Gillingham High Street after the recent refurbishment.

Gillingham’s mayor Barry Von Clemens has hailed a ‘positive buzz’ back in the High Street after the re-opening of ‘non-essential’ shops on Monday following the easing of national Covid lockdown restrictions.

The mayor visited a number of shops on Monday as well as the RiversMeet leisure centre which has re-opened.

‘It was great to pop in on as many businesses as I could and welcome them back after over 90 days absence,’ said Councillor Von Clemens.

‘There was a positive buzz everywhere I went. But it is also important to remember our local shops need our long term support to help them recover and prosper.’

Sharon Cullingfrod, a local councillor, chair of the town’s Chamber of Commerce and owner of Cullingford Carpets, agreed that Monday was a ‘positive step forward’ both for the town and the country as a whole.

‘We are receiving great feedback from the customers who appear to be thrilled to be back to some normality, it has been lovely to see the smiling faces on the High Street,’ said Councillor Cullingford.

‘The retail sector would have been more severely impacted last year without e-commerce, however this does not mean we should overlook the role that High Street shops still has to play.’

She added: ‘It is important to remember that not only do physical stores help drive the economy they are also great for bringing communities together.’

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