AS HOSPITALITY venues reopened today, staff and customers alike were preparing to return to their favourite spots.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues such as cinemas and hotels were permitted to reopen indoors – much to the delight many.

Stevie Robson, manager of the Pier Hotel and Restaurant, at The Quay, Harwich, said: “It’s hard to put into words how excited we are.

“The last five weeks have been quite challenging with the weather and being right on the seafront feeling the full force of this.

“It will be great to be fully open and offer more comfort, as opposed to having people huddled round a heater with blankets outside.

“I’m really looking forward to offering the nice hospitality, rather than ‘hospitality to get by’, and to continue doing what we love doing.”

Lucy White, who runs the Crown, in High Street, Manningtree, said she was keen to welcome customers.

Gazette: The Crown, ManningtreeThe Crown, Manningtree

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal and seeing everyone enjoying themselves inside again.

“It’s a step in the right direction, being inside means we can welcome everyone and no-one is cold anymore.”

Paul Milsom, owner of Le Talbooth, in Dedham, said: “We have been trading outside and, after last year’s amazing hot weather we had in the spring, it was always bound to be the coldest April and May we’ve had on record. 

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“It has been an incredibly tough time but the British spirit has shone through. Customers have been keen to come back and our staff have looked after people brilliantly.

“Getting physically closed by the Government is unbelievably difficult and debilitating, it’s been a such a tough mental challenge.

“But we are genuinely so excited for the summer ahead. It’s the third time we’ve had to reopen and I’m hoping it’s third time lucky.”

Michelle Preston, manager at Tymperleys, in Trinity Street, Colchester, said: “It’s nice to be back open inside and to not have to worry about how we are going to be affected by the weather.

“For the past few weeks this has been the difference to whether we can open or not, so we are excited to be opening our doors.

“It’s been challenging as the wind and rain have caused issues with the parasols but it’s now exciting to be opening our beautiful venue once again, and to be back doing weddings.”