Workington town centre has seen a rise in trade since lockdown, and shoppers are being thanked for supporting stores.

Richard Ashcroft, Washington Square Shopping Centre manager, said footfall was up this August compared to last year, and he is hopeful for the centre’s future.

He said the town centre saw a cautious start to normal trading once non-essential shops were allowed to reopen, but added that the introduction of mandatory face coverings for shoppers, which has now been extended to shop workers, seemed to have given people more confidence to go shopping.

He said: “It’s gradually got busier. We had a very busy last few weeks before the schools went back.”

Brighthouse did not reopen after lockdown and Laura Ashley and DW Sports have since closed.

But, despite branch closures elsewhere, the town’s flagship Debenhams store remains open, helping to attract shoppers from a wide area.

Mr Ashcroft said: “I think there’s a general concern for the high street because it’s a volatile situation at the moment but I’m hopeful that people realise that we’re fully open for business and we need people to shop locally to keep that going.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to the people who have been supporting the shops and I’d like to say a big thank you to all the staff who have worked hard to make it possible for them to shop safely.”