'We're open' - Hartlepool businesses can't wait to reopen doors as lockdown eases
Businesses in Hartlepool say they can’t wait to reopen after being closed for more than three months.
Town traders, hairdressers, pubs, coffee shops and gyms have been busy putting plans in place to welcome customers back from today (Monday, April 12) in the next stage of Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown.
Most have have been closed since early January and are raring to be back in business.
They include independent jeweller Mark Lloyd, of Park Road, who is opening from Wednesday, April 14.
He has built new glass screens into his shop while only two customers will be allowed in at a time.
Mark told the Mail: “We are following all the guidelines and doing everything we can. I can’t wait, it’s been hard work trying to keep everything afloat.
"Customers have been saying ‘please let us know when you’re open’. Jewellery is very precious to people so when something breaks they worry and want it fixed and back on their neck or on their finger.”
Most non-essential stores are also due to reopen in Middleton Grange shopping centre on Monday, except McDonalds and Mango Bean coffee shop.
Centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “We’re really excited to see retailers open and get customers back again.
"It will be great to see the shopping centre full of life again.”
Queuing systems will still be in place when stores get busy, and visitors must still wear face coverings and are asked to observe social distancing and follow the floor route markings.
Numbers allowed in the mall may be restricted at times and customers are asked to be respectful of staff.
Plant shop Plantopia run by mum and daughter Linda and Emily Vaughan are also looking forward to reopening on Monday and have relocated from the town's Park View industrial estate to York Road in the town centre.
Emily said: “We’ve been closed since early January so we’re really excited to get back open and for people to see our new shop.
"We’ve got a lot of measures in place including social distancing, hand sanitiser and face mask policy.”
A number of town pubs, bars and coffee shops are also opening after putting new outdoor seating areas.
And hairdressers are due to be very busy and have put measures in to create even safer environments.