Ballymena opened up for business this morning - and it’s getting a ,ot like a traditional pre Christmas shopping day!
Traffic was very busy at times in the town by 9.45am as shoppers flocked to purchase festive gifts.
But thankfully the flow seemed to be moving pretty steadily with only few meaningful hold ups.
The big difference for those who have worked in the town over the past two weeks is the great smell of cookery in the air - that has been largely absent since the imposition of mini lockdown restrictions two weeks ago.
By 10am the whiff of Christmas dinners being cooked was wafting through the town as restaurants geared up for the lunchtime trade.
Sadly, Council had to take the decision to cancel the Greenvale Street Christmas Market - and this may be a wise move in the context of what seems to be a rising trend in infections across the area.
As usual the vast majority of people were following all the proper protocols with the numbers choosing to wear face masks on street markedly on the rise.
Bear in mind it’s only 10.30am and we can expect numbers of shoppers to rise steadily throughout the day.
And that is why the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is urging shoppers to keep safe whilst out shopping this weekend.
Councillor Peter Johnston said: “As we move closer to Christmas, our energy is focused on reminding people to stay safe whilst doing all that they can to support local businesses in these challenging times.
“This has been a difficult year for everyone, not least those who have been striving to run a business, as they continue to provide services and keep people in jobs during this pandemic.
“Business owners and retailers in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne have worked hard in putting the necessary measures in place to help keep staff and customers safe. So when out and about, it’s important that everyone follows the public health advice: wash or sanitise hands often, wear a face covering and practise social distancing.
“We all have an important role to play in helping to stop the spread of Covid19.
“We have a fantastic retail offering across Mid and East Antrim, and I encourage everyone to safely #Rediscover the #SpiritofMEA by supporting local this Christmas.”