Southport businesses say they are delighted that the town has today been placed into new Tier 2 Covid restrictions, which come into force when the current national lockdown ends next Wednesday (2 December).
It means that many ventures, such as restaurants, hotels, cafes, play centres and others will be now able to reopen.
This will not be the case in neighbouring Lancashire, which has today been placed into harsher, Tier 3 restrictions.
Licenced premises in Southport will only be allowed to sell alcohol alongside ‘substantial meals’, meaning many pubs and bars locally will still not be open this December.
‘Non-essential’ shops, gyms and hairdressers are among those which will be able to open across all three Tiers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed the news earlier today but warned that the virus remains dangerous until vaccines are rolled out in the coming months as he urged people to carry on being cautious.
Local business owners in Southport today revealed their reaction.
Emily Serban, who opened the new Grill Hunters charcoal grill restaurant on Lord Street in Southport town centre in August, said: “We are so excited to reopen!
“It wasn’t easy for us all this time, we can’t wait to have our customers back in.
“We will open next Thursday having the restaurant ready for Christmas with decorations. Everyone was cheering this morning on our work group chat.
“We will take bookings for Christmas and New Year, even if it’s just until 10pm.
“We have had lots of customers asking about bookings already so hopefully we will have a busy December.”
More shops, restaurants and other businesses reopening means more work for local taxi drivers too, much to the delight of All White Taxis boss Adrian Hughes.
He said: “Tier 2 is what I expected. This will make a substantial difference to our number of jobs a day on our current lockdown levels. Roll on a few weeks of near normality.
“Overall I am optimistic for my business but fearful for other sectors and anyone that cannot ride the storm.”
The Playtown play centre at Ocean Plaza in Southport are relieved to be back open again next week after a challenging year. They were first ordered to close in March, and responded by cooking and delivering thousands of free meals to families in need in Southport.
They were back open for a few weeks over Summer before being ordered to shut again as the second Covid wave loomed.
Owners Louie and Tanya gaffney said: “Wow – this is amazing news. We are open from next Wednesday (2 December) and the booking system is now live if you want to get a session booked.
“Thank you all for being amazing and your continued support.
“We have THE BEST CUSTOMERS.
“We can’t wait to see you all very soon.”
Playtown will have a range of safety measures in place, including: State of the art temperature checks; Fogging system used daily on all equipment; Socially distanced tables and chairs; Play frame and equipment cleaned and sanitised after every session; One way system; Coverings worn by staff; and Screens and stickers with advice.
Christmas shoppers will be able to call in for a tasty lunch, coffee, hot chocolate or an artisan gin at Remedy on Lord Street in Southport town centre or on Botanic Road in Chuchtown Village.
Both Lord Street and Churchtown will re-open on Thursday 3 December.
Owner Susannah Porter said: “Lord St will be open 10.30am-8pm serving food all day until 7pm.
“We will have a big undercover area in the garden on Lord Street so you can get Christmassy with us and a Bailey’s latte – bring a blanket!
Banico and Jodie Zeniou run the Fylde Fish Bar chippies in Marshside, Birkdale and Birkdale.
They said: “With today’s announcement that we are moving into Tier 2 next week once the national lockdown ends we are thrilled that we will be able to open our restaurant again!
“We can’t wait to see you dining in again. Thanks so much to all our customers for all your support.”
For those who love a stroll down Southport Pier, Southport Pier Pavilion will once again be waiting for you at the end.
Manager Natalie Jamieson-Morrison said: “We are looking forward to seeing all of our lovely regulars on 2 December. Tier Two rules mean that we will be open exactly as we were before the current lockdown.
“Alcohol served only with food.
“Social distancing and face covering rules still apply.
“Please practise excellent hand hygiene and keep us all safe in the lead up to Christmas.”
Residents and businesses within Tier 2 must stick to the following restrictions:-
- No household mixing in any indoor setting.
- Rule of six applies outdoors – any social gatherings of more than six people are against the law.
- Pubs and restaurants must close by 11pm – last orders will be called at 10pm.
- Alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
- Spectators are allowed at sports events and live performances (capacity will be limited and social distancing must be stuck to).
- Personal care, including hairdressers and barbers, is allowed.
The Government is reviewing the Tiers every two weeks, meaning if our figures start to increase, we could be placed in a higher category with tighter restrictions so it’s really important that everyone keeps up their efforts.
Remember if you, or anyone in your household, starts to experience symptoms, it is important that you isolate and book a test. The main COVID-19 symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
You can book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.