COLCHESTER venues say they are “aching” to welcome visitors back through their doors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to announce the Covid road map easing earmarked for June 21 will be delayed for four weeks to July 19.

The decision comes as a huge setback to many businesses - particularly those in the battered arts and hospitality sectors - which pinned their hopes on a full summer reopening to recoup some of the losses from the past year.

Michael Charrington, owner of Layer Marney Tower, which is a popular wedding and events location, said: “It will mess up the plans for couples who have booked their wedding in the next few weeks and they will have to postpone again or have just 30 people attend.

“It’s a difficult time for everybody as we just want certainty, but it’s the one thing we just cannot get.

“We just have to try remain optimistic.”

Anthony Roberts, director of Colchester Arts Centre, said there are mixed emotions for the team at the centre.

He said: “We are just aching to have people back in our beautiful building.

“It almost hurts.

“But if we need to wait a few more weeks to make sure people are safe then obviously that’s the most important thing.

“We can spend it making the re-opening even more special for everyone.”

What do readers think?

The majority of poll-takers believe the delay is necessary.

The results of the Gazette’s online poll revealed 62 per cent readers agreed with the Government’s decision.

The poll, taken by more than 80 readers, also showed 32 per cent of voters disagreed with the delay and 6 per cent were unsure if the delay was a good move.