They’ve helped us through dark times. With the comfort of sourdough and bagels, with emergency supplies of wine and cocktails, by turning restaurants into deli’s – and doing it all with a massive smile.

Our independents are the beating heart of our city. They’ve made lockdown bearable and helped those who needed it the most. Today the roadmap was announced for the reopening of restaurants, pubs, gyms, salons and more. From April different sectors of life will be able to reopen and the plan is for all rules and regulations to be gone by late June. 

Here are our top tips to show your support.

Be an ally

Don’t be that person who posts a picture of a crowded queue, or a video of a staff member who forgot their gloves on social media. We’re all in this together, let’s support not shame. Talk to the owner, send them a message – this is new to everyone and it’s only going to work if we support each other.

Be kind

Yeh it’s a cliché, but behind every independent is someone who has been stressing they might never open again. Behind every flat white is a member of staff doing their best to keep everyone safe. You might need to wait a bit longer for stuff, the experience might not be exactly the same as pre-lockdown, but be patient, be kind and appreciate being able to enjoy the things you love.

Remember who looked after you

We’re not here to judge, but when the big names open up again remember who had your back. Who delivered the bananas for your bread, who did everything they could to get you a burger when you couldn’t face another bowl of crap fusilli, who dropped off the rose that made a week of zoom calls a little bit better. 

Stay safe

Not to go all Bojo on your back but we’re not living in normal times. Does 10 pints trigger an overwhelming urge to hug your mates? Maybe stick to three. Does a place already look pretty busy? Use this as a chance to try somewhere new. Go steady and we’ll be able to get our favourite stuff and go to our favourite places for good. 

Be Patient

Things might take longer. Food, drinks, service or for your table to ready. Rest assured this is because they’re ensuring things are safe for you and the staff. Also, just because a few places are opening doesn’t mean all are so please be patient with your favourite independents whilst they plan and if you can support them in other ways like gift vouchers or positive reviews online please do so.

We can’t predict the future. But we know a future with our independents open and thriving again is the future we want. On a separate note, thank you so much to everyone who’s stuck by us and not unsubscribed to our app. We wouldn’t have blamed you if you did but it means the world you didn’t.

Words by Angela Barlow