Inside today’s The Mail you’ll find a special 24-page supplement dedicated to the wonderful work of Cumbria’s local and independent businesses

The return of our high streets shops is welcome news for our communities, as our local businesses are anything but ‘non-essential’.

From butchers, to bakers, and even to candlestick makers, our independent, family-run businesses are the backbone of our local economy.

The return of our high street businesses will bring some semblance of normality to communities that have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

After months of serious restrictions on our individual liberties, albeit for a greater cause, people can now return to a life that is at least similar to the one they may have led pre-lockdown.

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, but the sight of local businesses throwing open their doors is the light at the end of the tunnel so many of us have longing for.

The re-opening of high streets shops will provide an obvious commercial boost too, as the Government looks to get commerce working again, to combat the dire economic consequences of the pandemic.

Shop owners, whose businesses had to be put on hold for the duration of the more stringent levels of lockdown, have welcomed the chance to throw open their doors.