Grantham businesses react after 'Freedom Day' lifts Covid-19 restrictions
From Monday, lockdown measures were lifted in England despite rising numbers of Covid-19 cases.
As a result, face coverings are no longer compulsory and mandatory social distancing has been axed as England moves to step 4 of the coronavirus recovery roadmap.
There are now no restrictions on the numbers of people or households that can meet - indoors or out - and nightclubs can re-open.
Clubbers in Grantham will be able to have their first big night out tonight (Friday)when one of the town’s night spots finally opens its doors as all legal Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Gold Night Spot in the Market Place has announced that it plans to reopen at midnight after months of closure and uncertainty.
A post on its Facebook page said: “All the equipment has been tested and working. Looking forward to seeing you Friday, July 23, open 12 till 4am with loads of drinks offers.
“We will be Covid safe and passes are recommended but not compulsory with the new legislation.”
Despite the official end of restrictions, many businesses will still require workers to wear masks, while encouraging customers to do the same, which is the case at Downtown, for example.
The Government said it “expects and recommends” that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded area, with GP practices and hospitals still requiring face coverings for visitors and employees.
The lifting of restrictions will provide a boost to hospitality businesses in the Grantham area, after months of uncertainty.
Lesley Pashley, chair of the Grantham Business Club, said: “Grantham businesses have mixed views about the final lifting of restrictions.
“For some, like local pubs, cafes and restaurants, the removal of compulsory social distancing will be a godsend as many have struggled to make their operations viable on reduced numbers.
“Others are far more cautious and will continue to impose the wearing of face masks and have strict COVID-safety measures in place.
“One thing is for sure, the vast majority of local businesses have used the opportunity to review how they work and, for many, these changes will be permanent and of a longer-term benefit to their bottom line profitability.
“Grantham Business Club would just urge local people to support local businesses. By doing so, we can start to build Grantham into the vibrant town that it deserves to be.”
Sarah Gibson, of The Garden Yard, an entirely outdoor venue, said that customers could still choose to wear masks and scan in.
She said: “Our entire cafe is outdoors so we feel quite safe if customers don’t want to wear masks, as it’s people’s choice we are happy with whatever they choose.
“Our tables are all socially distanced from each other so I feel that our customers already feel safe in this environment.
“We are equally happy if they choose to wear their masks and we still have our QR codes on display if they wish to scan in.”
Eddie Pimlott, owner of Nobody Inn, agreed with giving customers the option, with their safety and comfort at the forefront.
He said: “I must say it’s been incredibly difficult with all the rules and regulations that float around, changing by the day.
“I believe we have smashed it here at the Nobody Inn with table service, restriction conformity and customer/staff welfare…. although my wage bill has tripled.
“It’s nice not to have a possible fine lingering over your shoulder therefore it takes the pressure off.
“In Nobody Inn people have the choice to wear a mask or not wear a mask. Table service and booking is still available. Sanitising of hands, and fully disinfecting the pub everyday, as there are a lot of folk still uneasy regarding Covid-19.
“I have noticed that most people will walk up to the bar to get a drink but most walk away from the bar and sit down.I think the weather helps.
“As you can imagine we try to attract everyone and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
“I have also been to the shops since Monday and the majority of customers are still wearing masks which I personally think is sensible. Why wouldn’t you? If it stops you from contracting a virus.
“I also live in Nobody Inn with family, my wife Claire and Grace and Lewis, so I really am trying my hardest to keep everyone safe in these uncertain times.
“With regards to current trade, we are ok. Obviously it has affected us but with 32 years of experience and being a free-trade establishment we will survive but I feel sadly that within hospitality, restaurants, pubs, hotels etc. there will be some casualties.”