Customers return as coronavirus restrictions lifted
By Rob Freeman | 12th April 2021
Queues formed at shops across Gloucestershire as non-essential retail reopened in line with the latest step on the roadmap to relaxing coronavirus restrictions.
Hospitality venues with outdoor areas, hairdressers and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools were also able to open from today.
And shoppers in Gloucester were keen to get back with lines forming outside shops such as Primark, TK Maxx and Debenhams, which reopened for a final closing down sale ahead of the building being handed over to new owners the University of Gloucestershire.
Gloucester BID manager Emily Gibbon said: "It is so important to support our local businesses now more than ever, and as we do so please be kind and patient, there are still COVID safety measures in place for the business owner's safety, as well as public safety. Support local, shop safely."
And Gloucester City Council managing director Jon McGinty said Covid protection officers would be on hand to provide advice on social distancing and staying safe.
For pubs and restaurants able to serve outdoors - even with the cold weather - the chance to begin trading again cannot come soon enough after being closed for much of the last year.
But pubs unable to operate outdoors face waiting until June 21 before fully reopening.
The British Beer & Pub Association said pub operating business have invited more than £285million in supporting leased and tenanted publicans.
Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "Our sector is enormously proud of the investment we have made in our publicans which shows we are ready to get back open for business.
"We truly believe our pubs have a great future ahead of them which is why at the every level the sector is investing in them.
"Crucial to pubs' recovery though is ensuring the Government matches this investment by the industry with its own support."
Punchline-Gloucester editor Mark Owen is calling on everyone to support businesses across the county now they are able to reopen.
He said: "Times are hard for a lot of the names we know so well on our high streets and beyond - be they small, independent shops or large chains.
"We have issued them while they have been shut and many people have supported local businesses in new ways over the past year, be it through ordering online, takeaways or click and collect.
"Now we have extra opportunities to visit our favourite shops, cafes and pubs - socially distanced of course - and maybe try out a few new ones as well."
He continued: "The high street is changing, there is no disputing that, but we can do our bit to ensure it remains alive and kicking when the pandemic is finally over.
"Let's not wait until our favourite places, large and small, are gone before realising how important they are."
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