Liverpool has always been a city with a cultural identity soaked in community; supporting one another and togetherness.
In the 80’s alongside the closure of the ports, Liverpool found itself in economic decline. The large global companies were resistant to invest in our city, one that was seemingly succumbing to economic collapse.
Welcome the independents.
Liverpool- instead of allowing itself to fall to the pressure of a managed economic decline, supported itself. Local entrepreneurs and creatives opened their own businesses and the locals supported them. This comes part and parcel of why Liverpool declares itself and its culture a nation of its own; not just another city. We’re so much more than that.
The Liverpool Independent scene is the heart of soul of what Liverpool’s identity is. A collection of companies that not only support themselves but each other. If you go to a bar and ask where else is a good for a bev; no doubt you’ll get a list of 20 bars and restaurants and probably a hand drawn map on a napkin so you don’t get lost. It’s engrained in us to look out for each other.
The emergence of Covid-19 was… dare I say the… #unprecedented. Just as the spring and summer months were emerging, where beer gardens and al fresco dining would have been thriving, lockdown restrictions meant the closure of bars, restaurants and independent businesses all over the city.
So, what did Liverpool do in a time of turmoil? We supported each other, of course.
With incredulous swiftness, independents innovated and adapted. Establishments that didn’t normally offer takeaway services began running their own delivery services. Others invested in their social media and marketing efforts to encourage people to choose local and stay loyal.
Most notable of all efforts seemed that the Liverpool Independents were adamant not to have to let any of their staff go or cut any wages. The efforts were phenomenal and at incredible speed that each businesses innovated and adapted in the face of Covid-19. Companies offered vouchers, redeemable when the restaurants were deemed safe enough for reopening, others sold their own merchandise online.
However, the opening of businesses is the start of a new road of adaptation for independents. With the decreased capacity, businesses that have survived from takeaway services and deliveries or in some cases, temporary closure, this loss of business is only adding to the pressure of small and medium sized companies staying afloat so…
What can we do to help?
1. Eat out to help out
If you’ve visited any Independents since reopening you’ll probably have noticed the sense of solidarity and gratitude between serves and customers. Primarily the most effective way of helping businesses right now, is to get out, stay local and stay loyal. The Government has released a scheme running throughout August where, in the majority of restaurants, you can get up to £10 off you bill per diner on a Monday-Wednesday. Take advantage and get involved, go for some mid-week, half price scran and enjoy yourself.
2. Order in
We all love a takeaway and through these months why not branch out and try something new. Remember as well, if you’re ordering through Deliveroo or UberEats, they often take up to 35% commission from all orders and may take the delivery charge as well. If you’re ordering try to order directly from the restaurant and collect.
3. Show up
It’s been so disheartening seeing the amount of social media posts from companies urging people to stop booking tables and not turning up. Spontaneity may be something of our pre corona lives and booking a table for the gals and pals three weeks in advance may be a bit of a new revelation but if plans change, a simple phone call is all it takes or a restaurant to be able to fill empty spaces in advance. Some places are now having to take deposits in advance so be understanding and remember they’re just trying to keep themselves afloat!
4. Reconsider tipping habits
The capacity for tables has nearly halved in some restaurants due to social-distancing measures, meaning much less opportunity for servers (some wearing masks for hours on end) to get tips. Even if it’s a couple more pounds that you normally would tip, it will mean a great deal to the staff who may be feeling stressed or vulnerable.
5. Follow the rules
It’s pretty vague as to what people should or should not be wearing or doing. Each business will be running service the way they interpret the rules. From track and trace, to compulsory hand sanitising, to rules regarding not trying to come to the bar to order- try to be respectful. This most definitely isn’t how they hoped or envisaged their bar or restaurant but they’re doing their best to keep the majority feeling safe and having a positive experience. Try not to let your own interpretation of rules get in the way of having an enjoyable experience and be as respectful as possible.
Let’s carry on support each other, lifting each other up and continuing to make Liverpool proud.
Keep your eyes peeled for our Jack-All Productions film about Liverpool Independents pulling through these #unprecedentedtime