Arran BUSINESSES say they are ready to welcome visitors back in a bid to kick-start the island’s economic recovery and get people moving again.

Many Arran businesses reopened this week but islanders say tourism is now crucial to alleviating the impact coronavirus has had on trade.

Lorna Mansfield, managing director and owner of Old Byre Showroom and Café Thyme, said: “We opened the retail shop, play park and café for takeaway but it’s so quiet without tourists. I have a shop in Brodick which is quite small and it’s not done well at all this week with reopening.

“We’ve all got to try and stay safe as much as we can but we can’t isolate ourselves anymore because the economy will collapse otherwise. People that know Arran will come back and hopefully people that haven’t been will think it’s a good alternative to travelling abroad.”

Lorna admits that businesses will have to weigh up economic recovery with health concerns as more people arrive on the island.

Lorna said: “I feel safe but I have got concerns when tourists do come. We just have to take the precautionary measures and do we what we can.

“We’ve had to change our practices such as if people are trying on clothes then they can’t just put them back on the rack.

“We need to steam-clean them and provide hand sanitiser wherever possible.”

Alastair Dobson, managing director of Taste of Arran, extends the welcome too.

He said: “We’re ready to welcome tourists to Arran. We have worked positively with the Arran Economic Group to make sure the community is looked after as that’s hugely important.

“We want to be cautious and follow government guidelines but locals are very much behind it.

“We’ve also worked on the ferry capacity to allow a safe number of people to get across and Arran Medical Group to ensure they have the capacity to do test and protect for an increased number of people on the island.

“Arran is a Scotland in miniature and we’re inviting people who already know how special the island is so I’m confident they’ll respect the community.”