CORONAVIRUS has hit the local economy hard but Worcester BID says the pandemic has allowed some small independent businesses to flourish.

Ma Bakers, Jessica’s, Mr Simms, Toys n Games, Be The Change and Bottles/Worcester Wines are just some of the Worcester businesses who have evolved and adapted to meet the economic challenges that came with Covid-19.

Sam McCarthy, projects and marketing manager from Worcester BID, said: “We have seen a positive gradual climb in footfall since non-essential businesses were allowed to reopen again.

“This has been a challenging time for the businesses, one of the hardest things they have ever faced in their career.

“Worcester is a historic city centre which was designed not with social distancing in mind so this has been a challenge. However, Worcester’s independent businesses have faced this like the true leaders they are with innovation when it comes to adapting their business models to take care of their customers and employees.

“Worcester is bucking national trends for independents. The independents are the future of the high street and this is what will set Worcester apart and allow the city to flourish again, where cities elsewhere are struggling.

“Before Covid the High Street was evolving and place managers across the country were beginning to see a trend for people choosing to shop local. The lockdown appears to have accelerated this evolution by about five years.”

The businesses mentioned above all started home delivery services in order to keep afloat and meet the needs of their customers.

Michael Lloyd, centre manager at Crowngate Shopping Centre, was optimistic for Worcester's future. "The city centre is always evolving, but we believe there is an opportunity for change to meet this ‘new normal’," he said. "We are proud with how our local businesses have adapted already, and we are doing everything we can to help them meet the needs of the community.”