Elation as pubs, restaurants and soft play areas in Grantham welcome customers back indoors
Pubs and restaurants across Grantham are able to reopen indoors from today (Monday) as part of the Government's national roadmap out of lockdown.
Six people or two households will now be able to mix inside, and pubs and restaurants can restart indoor dining.
The day couldn't come quick enough for the staff at the Cinco Lounge, in the Isaac Newton Shopping Centre, Grantham, who were gearing up for a busy day ahead after being closed for seven months.
Assistant manager Jamie Marshall said that any nerves she had have now given way to excitement as customers came through the door this morning.
She said: "We have spent the days leading up to today doing a deep clean, retraining in Covid processes as well as refreshing ourselves on the new drinks and food menu.
"It's been a challenging time but we have adapted and overcome and are now just raring to go."
Wendy and Ian Pidd were some of the first customers through the door with their English sheepdog Barney.
Wendy said: "It just feels great to be out after so long and do something. We are still being cautious but it's great that we can now meet friends now."
Husband Ian added: "We would have just walked past if it was very busy but everyone is wearing face masks and santising hands on entry. We feel very safe here."
Fellow customers Laura Mcgrady and Mel Arnold were treating themselves to breakfast to celebrate their birthdays. Laura said: "It just feels great to be out."
As well as the hospitality industry, soft play areas have also been hit hard by the Covid lockdown.
But over at Imagination Town, based in the Springfield Business Park, the place was alive with the sound of children laughing and parents chatting.
Tatenda Chipunza, owner of Imagination Town with wife Amy, is delighted to be able to reopen.
He said: "We've had a great response from our customers who are just happy to be back. All of our sessions are mainly full today and we've got a busy week ahead. We just hope it stays like this.
"It's been a challenging year but now we are just really excited about getting back up again."
It was Natalie Barnsdale's first time at Imagination Town with her 18-month-old son Rory.
Despite some initial nerves she is glad she went along.
She added: "I was a bit nervous to come and I'm not sure that I would have if it wasn't for my friend asking me to."
Natalie's friend Emma Barnett was there with her son Brian.
Emma added: "It is just nice to be able to do normal things again and to see people."
It was a big day for Hannah Wilkinson who went along to the centre's first play session with her daughter Hallie and son Hayden.
She said: "I gave birth to Hayden just before we went into lockdown last March and so this is his first time at a play session like this. It's lovely to see all the children playing together."
Tatenda is already making plans for the future to mark their fresh start.
He added: "We mainly cater for the little ones but we are planning on hosting some discos for eight to 10-year-olds in the new future. Kids have missed out on so much throughout all of this and so we wanted to do something for them."
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