Businesses in and around Worksop gear up for 'freedom day' as lockdown restrictions set to ease
Businesses and residents in and around Worksop are gearing up to enjoy new levels of freedom after Boris Johnson confirmed he is set to lift the majority of the remaining Covid restrictions in England on July 19.
Compulsory face masks, social distancing and QR code sign-ins at restaurants and bars are among the key restrictions set to be lifted.
The Prime Minister said as we come into the summer months now was the time for people to "learn to live" with Covid and "exercise judgement" when it came to some of the restrictions.
The announcement means many businesses in the Worksop area that have remained closed for the majority of lockdown can now open their doors.
Ours Bar and Lounge in Elmton Road, Creswell is among the pubs gearing up to welcome punters back on what is being dubbed “freedom day”.
The pub had planned to reopen in June but when lockdown easing was delayed owner Lee Mills took the decision to wait until July 19.
Mr Mills, who has owned the pub for six years, said: “We are a large venue so for us to be able to deliver table service, service that was speedy, good quality and to our usual standard and ensure people were checked in properly we would have needed six members of staff just to open the doors, which for an independent pub was just not feasible. So when lockdown easing was delayed we decided to wait until July 19.
“It has been stressful, however, I completely understand why the government implemented the measures they did and I was very supportive of government action and grateful for the financial assistance provided.
"The pub has been closed for the best part of 12 months and it has been stressful, but we have been busy and have used some of the grant money we received to refurbish and install a commercial kitchen so we will be able to serve pub meals for the first time in 20 years.
"This will be great for the community and will help support other local businesses. We have used local contractors to carry out the work and we have a supply deal with a local butcher.
"We are excited to finally open again, but nervous too as we are starting something completely new with pub meals but people are chomping at the bit to get back and we can’t wait to welcome customers.”
Another industry welcoming the changes in the region are indoor children’s play areas.
For Captain Jack’s Adventure in Retford the easing of restrictions will allow them to start hosting parties again – one of its biggest sources of income.
Owner Sally Roberts said: “This will make life easier although we will be carrying some things over as they have worked well for us such as pre booking online.
"The big thing for us will be the removal of the reduced limit to our capacity and that we will be able to host parties again which is such a huge part of our business.
"Another problem we are currently facing is the effect of isolation on our business. With so many school bubbles in the area closing a significant number of children are now isolating for 10 days. We also have three members of staff isolating which is incredibly problematic when trying to juggle a small workforce and still be able to operate.
"Many similar businesses have had to close temporarily due to lack of staff. It's a very big worry but hopefully one that will be more sensibly managed from the July 19.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is set to tell MPs how rules in schools in England will change. It is expected that a "new regime" to avoid school bubble groups having to self-isolate if they come into contact with Covid cases will be introduced.
The fourth and final stage of the government's roadmap out of lockdown in England was delayed last month to no earlier than 19 July.
Tara Davies who launched My Playful World – a new indoor imaginative play area in Tuxford - during lockdown said the easing of the mask wearing rules would make life easier for parents.
She said: “For us at My Playful World it will be great for parents to get the option of not wearing a face mask whilst playing with their children in the play area.
"Face-to-face interactions between a parent and child are the building blocks of the child's emotional, social, and cognitive growth and we want to encourage that wherever we can. It will also be great for us to see our lovely customer’s faces when we’re talking!
“Having said that, we completely appreciate that some people are still worried about the easing of restrictions for various health reasons.
"Because of this we will continue to do our part by maintaining our exceptionally high standards of cleanliness and hygiene throughout the play centre and café by cleaning and sanitising between play sessions.
"From a business perspective, we hope that more people will feel comfortable to come and visit us and show support to us and other small, independent businesses.”
In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Sam Jackson, editor.