TODAY has been another exciting milestone in the shift to normality, as pubs and restaurants welcomed guests back inside to eat and drink for the first time since January.
‘No more sitting in the rain!’ I excitedly thought as I popped into the city centre at lunch time to hear how some of the businesses were getting on.
Typically after a weekend of torrential rain, today everyone was able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, meaning a lot of the inside spaces I visited were a little bit quiet.
Despite this, there was an excited atmosphere around the city, and business owners were ecstatic to offer the inside option.
Opening during the latest lockdown, The Salisbury Orangery is relatively new to the city and has only ever been able to offer takeaways, and manager Callum Mousley told me it was “amazing” to finally get people through the doors.
He said: “The response from our customers has been great and there has been so much support.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start really.”
For some businesses, this was their first time reopening completely this year, due to a lack of outdoor seating and space.
Popping into The Bell and Crown, it felt quiet but cosy with a buzz in the air, and landlord Robert Daley told me he was “excited” for things to pick up, with “lots of bookings” pencilled in for tonight and the weekend.
Absolutely beaming behind his mask, he said: “It’s been a stressful morning getting things set up but apart from that, it has been very nice.
“Since opening this morning we’ve had another 10/15 bookings come in. [While the pub was closed] it was good to see and learn how everyone else was working.
“Now we’re just really looking forward to getting going.”
Walking through the Old George Mall and Market Square, it was great to see so many people socialising and enjoying a coffee (a couple of coffees in my case…) while following Covid-19 rules.
I noticed some people had even treated themselves to a glass of wine, so an excited, celebratory spirit was definitely in the air. It was lovely to witness lots of laughing and smiling faces, both from customers and staff.
Of course, this lockdown lift was not as momentous as the one of April 12, and some businesses have had a slower start today, but it is safe to say that by the weekend the city will come alive and feel even more open for business.
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