BUSINESSES are a vital part of our communities and economy.

We want to support ours and need your help.

Many firms, now including non-essential shops, are able to open their doors for the first time in three months as the government eases lockdown restrictions.

However, they are having to change and adapt the way they do business in order to help keep customers safe during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Gazette launched its Backing Essex Business campaign in April.

We pledged to back our local, independent and family-run businesses, doing what we can to help them through this difficult time.

We want you to tell us about your favourites so we can highlight their important role in the community and encourage others to use them.

In addition to using the #BackingEssexbusiness hashtag, simply go here and tell us about your 'top traders'.

From the newsagent to the family-run butcher, an independent clothing or charity store, we want to hear about the places you love to use, what makes them special and why you would tell others to pay them a visit.

We'll feature as many as possible in the Gazette.