'It's about time' - Hartlepool enjoys pints, coffees and breakfasts INDOORS
Pubs and restaurants in Hartlepool enjoyed a brisk trade as customers were allowed to eat and drink indoors for the first time this year.
Businesses across town were busy from first thing in the morning on Monday with the further relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions.
For some it was the first time they had opened their doors since October while others welcomed customers indoors after only being able to serve outside from April.
Retired joiner Duncan MacDonald, 68, was among a handful of customers enjoying a mid-morning pint at Wetherspoon’s Lloyds pub The Ward Jackson, in Church Square.
He said: “With it being the first time it’s open again I came to get the feel of the place and meet up with my friends.
"As soon as it’s back open we want to get out and about again.
"Being retired you are stuck in the house all the time. I have missed being able to come in.”
A pair of regular customers, husband and wife Tony and Joanne Ingledew, from Owton Manor, tucked into a full English breakfast.
Greggs worker Joanne, 51, said: “The first thing I said when I finished work yesterday was ‘up early and down to Lloyds for breakfast.
"It’s been horrendous.”
Tony, 57, who works for Caterpillar, added: “I’ve been waiting for this all year.”
Elsewhere, Mark Walls, 60, was glad to relax with a seat inside McDonald’s, in Marina Way, where he is a regular customer.
Enjoying a morning coffee, he said: “It’s about time. I come here almost every day.”
Tracey Jackson, 53, enjoying a coffee with husband Gary, said: “Usually we have to sit in the car but now we can actually come which is lovely.
"It’s more relaxing.”
Gary, 56, added: “It’s good to have some semblance of normality.”
McDonald’s manager David Brown said: “We had some people sitting inside straightaway when we opened at 7am, so it has been busier than what we expected.”
At Hartlepool Marina, staff at the Lock Gates bar and grill were glad to reopen for the first time since last year.
Owner Ken Hedley said: “We’ve got about four tables booked for dinner time and everyone seems full spirited.
"However, I’ll be more pleased on June 21 when we don’t need any measures.
"I think that’s what everyone’s waiting for.”