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'We can't wait to see our customers again', say Grantham businesses

Businesses are preparing to open to the public for the first time in months on Monday.

The Government’s easing of lockdown means that pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outdoors from next week. Non-essential shops, gyms, beauty salons and hairdressers can also reopen.

The restrictions mean local pubs will have to make use of any outdoor space they can, otherwise they cannot open their premises until May 17.

The outdoor area at The Tollemache Inn which is being prepared for reopening on April 12. (45937854)
The outdoor area at The Tollemache Inn which is being prepared for reopening on April 12. (45937854)

The Tollemache Inn, in St Peter’s Hill, will be serving in its beer garden at the back of the pub. It is not taking bookings.

Tollemache manager Steven Hamilton said: “It will be good to be back after being closed for five months. We will be up and ready for Monday. We have seating for 88 people, which is not a massive amount but it is enough to keep us ticking over until we can open properly.”

The pub will be open 9am to 9pm, Sunday to Thursday and from 9am to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

There will also be tables for customers in front of the pub but only soft drinks and coffee can be served there as The Tollemache is not licensed to serve alcohol in front of the pub.

Pub customers no longer need to order a substantial meal with their drinks, but they must follow the rule of six or be in a group of any size as long as there are no more than two households present.

Another Grantham pub, the Black Dog in Watergate, is also ready to welcome customers back on Monday.

The pub says its beer garden will be open serving alcohol and food, in line with Government guidance. The website says: “Bookings can be made on our website for a small number of tables but if you can’t book online, don’t worry, we’re still welcoming walk-in visits.”

Gyms are also opening from Monday. Oceans Health and Fitness Club, in Dysart Road, will be open from 6.30am.

Oceans director Duncan Foster said: “We could not be happier to be opening again. We have had lots of good feedback from staff and customers and they cannot wait to get back.”

Mr Foster said Covid safety procedures were well tested. The pool area will also be open.

He added: “The health and fitness industry as a whole has had a huge struggle. There has been little media coverage of it compared to the hospitality industry.

“We have been hit hard and to will take some time to build up our income streams again once we have opened.”

Non-essential retailers are preparing to open on Monday. This means a number of independent businesses are looking forward to opening their doors after been shut for months.

Kay Armitage, of Kay’s of Grantham, said: “These last few months have been really tough. Winter has always been a slow season but with the lockdown it’s been even worse.

“With hospitality, restaurants and theatres also closed and people working from home there hasn’t been the need to buy new clothes for going out socialising or to work.

“Although my website has been ticking over, I miss the personal interactions and helping customers who need a bit of help and advice. I also miss those who just pop in for a chat when they’re in town.

“With so many big name High Street stores closing over the last year, I’m optimistic that people will start looking at the independent shops and want to support the smaller businesses.”

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