Grantham businesses react to government roadmap announcement
Local businesses have reacted after the latest government announcement gave preliminary reopening dates across many industries.
The third stage of easing is expected to kick in from April 12, with non-essential retail, hairdressers, nail salons, gyms and outdoor areas in hospitality venues, such as beer gardens, set to reopen, along with libraries, museums, zoos and theme parks.
Despite the imminent easing of measures, beginning with all students returning to schools on March 8, the Prime Minister told Parliament on Monday that the ‘stay at home’ message would remain in place.
“The threat remains substantial, with hospital numbers only now starting to reduce to numbers back in April,” said Mr Johnson.
“It’s crucial this roadmap should be cautious, but irreversible.”
Mr Johnson also said that before proceeding to the next round of easing restrictions — ministers would assess vaccination targets.
Paul Brittain, who runs Head Office, in Vine Street, said: “We are all very disappointed, we were hoping it was going to be the beginning of March as we’ve already been closed for too long.
“Our clients have now missed several appointments and hairdressing is more than just styling someone’s hairs, it’s the art of conversation and the interaction, making people feel good about themselves, which is lacking all around at the moment.
“We all miss our clients and long to return to a normal routine, as clients are more like our friends.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel we feel now, with everyone receiving their vaccines. Hopefully this should be the last lockdown we see.”
Curtis Gardner, owner of Frontline Fitness, off Alma Park Road, said “It’s really good news. [It was] not just myself that was excited, but my members were as well.
“It’s exciting times for us to see some form of normality, because people need it for their mental health.
“During the lockdown period, I’ve been buying new equipment, so we’ve been updating lots of things. New flooring, just refreshing the gym a bit before the members all come back, so we’ve been busy.
“It’s been a tough year, and a tough start to the new year. We’ve just got to be ready for what comes.
“With the vaccines rollout in place, I feel more confident. People need to do exercise, they need to get moving again.”
The next stage of lifting restrictions is earmarked for May 17, with pubs, restaurants, cinemas, hotels, B&Bs and children’s play areas set to open. Fans will be allowed back into sporting events and up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings, funerals, wakes, receptions and christenings.
Karen Slator, owner of Fun Farm and Grantham Bowl, said: “We were really pleased to hear the most recent Government announcement regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions, as it’s always good to have an opening date to work towards. The Fun Farm indoor soft play and Grantham Bowl should be able to open from May 17 onwards and although it would have been nice to have been able to open for the Easter holidays we are just grateful to have a provisional date.
“It seems really strange not opening the soft play area for the second Easter in a row. Normally, at this time of the year, we would be planning our Easter entertainment, and looking forward to seeing our very excited young customers searching for chocolate eggs; it is extremely sad that we will miss it all yet again!”
Pubs and restaurants will be eager to reopen their doors on May 17 if everything goes to plan, having been closed since November.
Nobody Inn owner Eddie Pimlott said that while everybody was waiting to get out of the third lockdown, pubs had remained closed from the beginning of the second national lockdown.
With his North Street pub not having a beer garden, he will have to wait until May to open up. He said: “From my point of view, I can’t trade. We’ll just get everything ready for May.”
Joe Walker, manager at the Fox and Hounds in Old Somerby, agreed that it would not be feasible to open outdoors from April 12, but said that it was “absolutely fantastic news” that the pub could reopen on May 17.
“I can’t wait to see everybody at the Fox and Hounds,” he added.
The Waggon and Horses, in Caythorpe, has already made plans, with live music already booked for the last Bank Holiday in May. General manager Anne Louise Inman said: “We are delighted to be opening with lots of exciting things planned already, including live music from the end of May (subject to guidelines). We are also launching a new ‘Tapas Tuesday’ night.”