Santa Claus comes to Raymond Terrace

HO HO HO: Practising the 1.5m distance rule are Marketplace centre manager Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz with Santa at the Christmas photography display.
HO HO HO: Practising the 1.5m distance rule are Marketplace centre manager Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz with Santa at the Christmas photography display.

The 'shop local' campaign adopted by Nelson Bay is being extended across all Port Stephens shopping precincts in the lead up to Christmas.

With many retail economies feeling the effects of the COVID-19 restrictions, job losses and business shutdowns, Terrace business owners and shopkeepers are calling on the town's strong community spirit to pull together this festive season.

And shoppers can be reassured that Raymond Terrace businesses are serious about keeping everyone safe through their strict COVID-safe plans and protocols.

Raymond Terrace Marketplace centre manager Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz said that there had been a new confidence in the town following the easing of COVID restrictions with the community coming together in support of each other.

"We have acknowledged the suffering experienced in some quarters with job losses and business closures due to the pandemic, but thankfully many have come back and we are looking forward to a brighter Christmas," she said.

"The entire shopping precinct is getting behind the 'shop local' campaign and that includes both local and nationally recognised named stores. It is so important that shoppers understand the power of shopping locally if they want these stores to remain open into the future."

Ms Mulholland-Ruiz said that in the lead up to Christmas the Marketplace would be featuring a range of messages and artwork produced by students from the nine primary and high schools which participate in the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) initiative.

She said that due to health restrictions photographs with Santa at the centre would look differently this year.

"People will need to book to have their photograph with Santa, either online through the Marketplace website or over the phone. We will be adhering to the 1.5m distance rules."

Ms Mulholland-Ruiz said that the successful 'sensory Santa' promotion from previous years would be back, providing special needs people with quiet time and space to meet with Santa.

"We have listened to our customers and improved each year on these experiences, particularly for the children."

The Christmas Lions club gift wrapping project has also returned in 2020.

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