THE coronavirus lockdown in England will be eased again next week, paving the way for pubs, hairdressers and non-essential shops to open their doors for the first time in three months.
Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that phase two of his roadmap out of lockdown would take place as planned on Monday, much to the delight of businesses in Hereford.
More than three months ago on December 30, Hereford was moved to Tier 3 of England’s Covid-19 restrictions, meaning hairdressers, restaurants and non-essential shops had to close their doors, and then days later the third national lockdown was ordered.
While shops have been able to offer click-and-collect services, and restaurants could be turned into takeaways, doors have not been open as normal.
For one of Maylord Shopping Centre’s new businesses, the owner is elated to finally see the lockdown lifted.
Despite opening in October 2020, varying restrictions have meant Make-it Happen has only been open properly for six weeks.
Owner Jackie Partridge, from Kingsland near Leominster, returned from teaching in the Czech Republic in June to set up her own business in her home county.
But the lockdowns meant her business plan for the fabric, haberdashery and creative workshop venture went out of the window.
“We opened in October and had a really successful month, we were really well supported by the local community which was fantastic,” said Miss Partridge, aged 43.
“They were really pleased to see a fabric and haberdashery shop in Hereford city centre, and people were also really excited about the opportunity to attend some of our creative workshops we were planning in the studio space above our retail shop.”
She praised Herefordshire Council, which took over the shopping centre, for its support throughout the pandemic, including reduced rent and giving business grants.
Miss Partridge also thanked her mother, Cynthia, and the rest of the family for their support during what she said was a challenging time to start your own business.
Beauticians, hairdressers and barbers can also return to work on Monday, with Lydia Payne, one half of The Clinic and The Colourist in Widemarsh Street, able to show off her new premises after the two firms came together.
Mrs Payne, aged 38, from Hereford, said the two businesses were brought together as the hair and beauty industry, like others, were facing challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Clinic and The Colourist brings together hairdressers, aesthetics practitioners with medical nurse prescriber, a tattooing trainer, as well as offering courses, all under one roof.
And now Mrs Payne, and her business partner Nickalea Deacon, are eager to get back to work after a three-month wait.
“We’re literally fully booked, we’ve got a few appointments here and there, but the first month we’re full,” Mrs Payne said.
“My business partner is working until 9pm the first week back, she’s doing 12-hour days to get everybody in. We had to move everybody and then they put us into lockdown again, some of my clients have waited six months for these treatments. We’re having to pace ourselves because we don’t want to burn out either.”
Pubs and restaurants are also gearing up to reopen, and from April 12 they will be able to serve customers outdoors.
Some businesses, like the Rose and Crown in Ledbury Road, have had to buy more seating. Landlord Andy Fletcher is looking forward to pulling the first pint.