Shoppers have been told they have a major role to play in safeguarding the future of town centres by supporting local businesses when the lockdown in Northern Ireland finally ends.
DUP MP Carla Lockhart has called on the public to help secure the future of town centres by supporting their local shops when they reopen.
"We need people to support local business and buy local produce to help local retailers and producers survive these challenging market conditions," she said.
"Many of our high streets have been ghost towns for the last couple of months, with so many businesses forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions to protect public health.
"This has been devastating for many local retailers and other businesses.
"While for many, the government has stepped up to provide much needed financial support, the impact of this period will be long lasting."
She said that without support, the situation would be devastating for many family-owned businesses.
"In Northern Ireland the independent retailer and business remains prevalent, with many being family-run and a testament to a life's work or even the work of families over generations," she said.
"It would be awful to lose these businesses, who often go above and beyond in terms of service to their customers, and who can justifiably say that their produce is amongst the very best in the world.
"That is why as businesses begin to lift the shutters once again, it is vitally important that we take the very conscious decision both to shop local and buy local.
"If we all decide to spend our money with the local business, then many will survive the economic tsunami brought by coronavirus."