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Shop owners gearing up to reopen tomorrow as lockdown restrictions ease

The country will take its next major step out of lockdown tomorrow with hairdressers, non-essential shops and gyms set to reopen.

Pubs and restaurants can also serve punters outdoors as the hospitality trade looks to recover after an economically crippling year.

Windsor and Eton town manager Paul Roach said there are mixed emotions in the town with businesses keen to start trading fully again but wary of the safety regulations that need to be followed.

Shoppers and pub-goers will be greeted with signs across the town warning: ‘Don’t let your guard down’ as society attempts to release itself from coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Roach said: “There’s great anticipation and a bit of a mixture of emotions.

“It’s partly relief for some businesses that finally they get to reopen and gain back some of the losses everyone has seen over the last six months.”

He added: “We want people to enjoy it, we want people to come into town but we don’t want to see some of the negative stuff we’ve seen in parts of the country where people have lacked a bit of respect for the space they’re visiting.”

The town manager said many of the pubs in the area have space to accommodate people outside.

But he added discussions are ongoing with those without access to outdoor seating over whether any temporary arrangements can be reached with the council.

Jake Reilly, general manager at The Corner Ale & Cider House, said his Sheet Street venue is offering two-hour booking slots on its roof terrace to allow as many people to come and go as possible.

“We’d love to let people stay all day, but it’s just not profitable to do that,” he said.

Community-owned pub, The Swan, in Clewer, will be operating with 50 per cent of its tables available to book in order to offer more flexibility to punters.

“That lets people make a last-minute decision – ‘the weather’s nice, so we’ll go to the pub’ – as opposed to ‘Oh, the weather’s nice but we can’t go out because we haven’t booked,’” said Anne Tebbatt, chair of Friends of the Swan.

Hairdressers will also reopen next week after more than three months of being closed.

Joanne Levett, owner of the Artwork Hair Salon in St Leonards Road, is fully booked until May and says she cannot wait to get back to the day job.

“We are excited to get back. We have got everything in place, the same as we had last time,” she said. “I just want to get in there and get back to work.”

Joanne added: “Hopefully, everyone is going to support each other. I will be too busy to go out and see what is going on, we’vegot nothing available until May. We’re raring to go.”

In Slough, the Queensmere Observatory Shopping Centre said it is delighted to be welcoming back visitors to all its shops on Monday.

Safety measures in place include compulsory face masks, unless exempt, hand sanitising stations and directional floor markings.

Langley Leisure Centre and The Centre are set to reopen on Monday but Salt Hill Activity Centre’s facilities will remain closed with the venue operating as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

Slough Borough Council has secured £340,000 funding from Sport England to support its leisure provider, Everyone Active, in its recovery from the financial impact of COVID-19.

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