Footfall in Shrewsbury has out-performed the national average during June and July as shoppers steadily gain the confidence to visit the town centre again.
Figures from footfall counters show that increases in visitor numbers were consistently higher than comparable towns across the country following the introduction of interventions to help aid social distancing, such as closing High Street to traffic during the day.
Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said footfall since the start of June had on average been 15% higher than UK High Streets, when compared to last year.
He said: “As you would expect, town centres are quieter than this time last year, but the steady weekly increases have been very encouraging, particularly as Shrewsbury has been ahead of the national average almost every week.
“We have worked hard with Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council, through the Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce, to make the town safe and welcoming, and it’s pleasing to see a growing number of people enjoying their town centre again.”
Jess Shiels, owner of Peaberry Cafe Bar in Milk Street, said removing traffic from High Street to enable tables and chairs outside had been “lifesaving”.
“The footfall has been amazing and customers say they love the Mediterranean feel of having tables out in the road so they can sit and enjoy the atmosphere without any traffic going past,” he said.
“Being able to use the outside space has been lifesaving for us, and everyone says they would love it to stay traffic-free like this all of the time.
“Everyone is working together to make the best of the situation, with our neighbouring businesses like Wombourne Windows and The Wheatsheaf happy to share the space - it’s been brilliant.”
Samantha Pritchard, owner of It’s Feet First in Wyle Cop, said there was a good atmosphere in the town centre.
She added: “We have been busy since reopening and people have been happy to support their local independent businesses, which we are very grateful for.
“Everyone has said they feel safe and the changes to the road layout to provide more space is working really well.
“There’s a really nice feel to the town at the moment and we hope more people will come out to experience it for themselves.”