TODAY marks a significant step in the recovery of the local business community with traders reopening their doors again as Northern Ireland emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.
It has been three months since the shutters came down on shop premises in an effort to halt the spread of the disease but in line with the easing of restrictions, a number of shops have opened this morning.
Earlier this week Economy Minister Diane Dodds gave the green light for all non-essential retailers to resume trading.
The minister said the move is subject to retailers “adhering to the necessary safety measures and no increase in the spread of the virus".
An increased footfall has been evident across the town this week with the reopening of several stores and locals eager to shop.
Now, as businesses take the first tentative steps on the road to recovery, the message is to shop local and support small businesses.
Mayor Brian Tierney said: “Our local businesses are the backbone of our economy and its vitally important that we do all we can over the coming days and weeks to support our businesses as they reopen and get back to business in a new and more challenging environment.
“Every effort has been made by our retailers to provide a safe and secure environment for their customers. We all have a role to play in this by adhering to the guidelines and acting responsibly when out and about.
"Please be patient if you have to queue at some shops and be kind to the staff who are working under difficult circumstances.
"By shopping local and supporting our small businesses we can restore our economy and bring back life and vitality to our city and town centres.”