The State of Rural Services Report 2021 (published in January 2022) explores the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on service provision in rural areas of England.
In some respects, the pandemic simply accelerated trends already underway, such as rural residents’ use of online services and cashless payments. One positive outcome has been more rural consumers valuing and using local food shops, a trend which may be sustained.
Certain services show positive signs of recovery, but there seem little doubt others remain at risk, with some users having not returned or expressing reluctance to do so. More passengers need to return to using rural buses, more activities need to restart in village halls and patronage that is coming back to rural pubs needs sustaining through the Winter months. Larger leisure venues in rural towns, such as cinemas and theatres, need to win back viable audiences.