RESTAURANTS, pubs and attractions in north Essex are raring to go as lockdown restrictions ease on Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that indoor hospitality and household mixing will return next week after stating that the data supports a further relaxation of measures.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues such as cinemas and soft play areas will be permitted to reopen indoors.

Sheena Valentine, who runs The Victoria Inn, in North Station Road, Colchester, said she was very keen to welcome customers back next week.

“This latest lockdown has gone on for too long and we are very much looking forward to reopening,” she said.

“But staff costs have doubled if not tripled due to the amount of staff we need to have - we’re still operating under restrictions.

“We need someone on the front door and need to provide table service.

“So, we will be opening from Wednesdays to Sunday - and with slightly reduced hours.”

Colchester’s Headgate Theatre has announced that it will be reopening next month with socially-distanced performances.

There will be a children’s workshop from June 1 to 3 and the first show, Two by Jim Cartwright, runs from June 9 to 12.

Katie Wright, theatre manager, said: “The theatre has been working hard to meet the standards established by UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatres.

“It means that audiences can feel confident and safe knowing that the venue is Covid-secure and will be following the latest government and performing arts guidance.

“Due to social distancing guidance, until the end of June the auditorium can only accommodate 50 per cent of the usual capacity.”

Clacton Pier said final preparations are being made for the full reopening of the attraction for the first time in five months too.

Pier director Billy Ball said that while outdoor rides have been operating since mid-April it will be a relief to see the rest of the attraction opening up again.

“This is the date we have been longing for and it will mean that we almost return to business as usual - but with the existing Covid guidelines in place,” he said.

“A great deal of hard work has been taking place behind the scenes to get us ready for this point and it will be good to welcome back staff who work in our indoor areas for the first time since before Christmas.

“We have carried out the cleaning and hygiene measures required and will continue to do so.

“There will also be social distancing measures in place and masks will need to be worn where necessary.”

Mr Ball said he was pleased for all those involved in the hospitality and leisure sector that they can start to trade properly again.

“Let’s hope there are no setbacks, and we can all start to enjoy a fun summer in as a normal a business environment as possible.”