LiveRECAP: How Hartlepool fared as 'non-essential' retail businesses reopened on April 12

Hundreds of “non-essential” businesses across the Hartlepool reopened for the first time in at least three months on Monday, April 12, following the latest easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 6:10 pm
Scenes from Hartlepool on April 12 as "non-essential" businesses reopen for the first time in more than three months.

Hartlepool Mail staff Mark Payne, Pamela Bilalova and Frank Reid were on the town’s streets to see how bars, hairdressers and other retail premises fared on a landmark day.

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LIVE blog as Hartlepool pubs, hairdressers and other ‘non-essential’ businesses reopen on April 12

Last updated: Monday, 12 April, 2021, 18:05

  • Non essential shops, outdoor restaurants and bars, gyms and hairdressers are able to reopen for the first time since the third lockdown was imposed;
  • April 12 marks the second stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown
  • Hartlepool people start to enjoy themselves in the spring sunshine

6.05pm: ‘There was going to be trouble if I wasn’t booked in for the first Monday'

Lesley Stothart, 49, who one of the first customers at the Ladies Room, in Hartlepool, when it reopened, said: “There was going to be trouble if I wasn’t booked in for the first Monday they reopened.

“I even took a day off work to come in. “

Lesley Stothart waits to have her hair styled by Dale Stephenson at Hartlepool’s Ladies Room salon.

4.10pm: ‘It’s great to be back'

Bob Grainger, 68, waits to be served at Hartlepool’s Ward Jackson pub on April 12.

3.45pm: ‘I think everyone is ready for it'

The Nursery Inn, in Hopps Street, Hartlepool, has new seating and covering for 100 customers.

Licensee Deborah Humberston said: “It will make a massive difference. I think everyone is ready for it.”

Deborah Humberson pulling a drink at Hartlepool’s Nursery Inn.

2.20pm: First day back was ‘hectic’, says shopper after unexpected visit

Sarah Thompson, 39, from Clavering, said the first day back at the shops was “hectic” after she paid an unexpected visit. 

Sarah went to the shopping centre as she ended up having some spare time while her car was at the garage.

She said: “I had no intention coming in to town, but I dropped my car off at the garage and they said ‘give us an hour.’ “

Sarah Thompson outside Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

1.05pm: Hartlepool says cheers

Simon and Claire Hoey enjoy an outdoor pint at the Raby Arms, in Hart, on April 12.

12.45pm: “It’s been lovely seeing everybody. I’m excited to see all of the staff and all of the customers again.”

Lindsay Carney, manager of the Ward Jackson pub, said: “It’s been lovely seeing everybody. I’m excited to see all of the staff and all of the customers again."

12.15pm: Shoppers return to Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

Shoppers inside Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, in Hartlepool, on April 12.

Noon: Steady queues outside Primark in Hartlepool town centre this morning

11.45am: Some pubs ‘hanging on by their fingertips'

Emma McClarkin, chief executive officer of the British Beer & Pub Association, said some pubs were “hanging on by their fingertips” and needed Government support to encourage customers back.

“It’s a first small step in a very long journey to recovery,” she said, speaking on Sky News.

“The pandemic has been a really devastating time for all those in the beer and the pubs sector and we won’t be able to enter any sort of profit until all restrictions are lifted.

“The pandemic has absolutely seen an acceleration in the closing of the Great British pub … we desperately need to be helping these businesses that are hanging on by their fingertips.”

10.30am: Cleveland Police remind public that ‘there are still rules in place’

Superintendent Emily Harrison, who is leading the force’s Covid response, said: “We recognise the easing of restrictions today is another positive step towards a return to aspects of ‘normal’ life.

“There will be more options to leave home to visit shops, pubs and certain attractions but there are still rules in place.

“It is vital people don’t become complacent and continue to follow the rules, for their safety and the safety of others.

“We’d urge people to remember many premises are using booking systems so please double check with the venue you plan to attend, think about booking in advance to avoid disappointment.”

8.30am: The queue outside Ian Taylor’s barber shop in Church Street, Hartlepool

The queue outside Ian Taylor’s barber shop in Church Street, Hartlepool, at 8.30am on Monday, April 12.

What businesses can reopen?

Non-essential shops are reopening, alongside personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons and public buildings such as libraries and community centres.

Outdoor hospitality venues, such as beer gardens, are now also allowed to welcome customers back – but only with table service.

Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) can also reopen.

Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds can now go ahead, while indoor leisure and sports facilities are reopening for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble.

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