COLCHESTER’S theatres, pubs and clubs are “delighted” at the prospect of reopening at full capacity once again.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out his intention to end nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions in one fell swoop.

The final decision is due to be made next week but Mr Johnson has given every signal it will go ahead on Monday, July 19.

Colchester Arts Centre has been closed to the public since last March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its director Anthony Roberts said: “We’re so excited at the thought of reopening.

“But we know that just starting where we left off as if there’s never been a pandemic isn’t, in truth, an option for anyone.

Gazette: Joy - Anthony Roberts, director of Colchester Arts CentreJoy - Anthony Roberts, director of Colchester Arts Centre

“So when we open we will be bringing everything we learnt with us to make it an even happier, safer more inclusive venue than ever.”

Atik, in Colchester, is also eager to reopen.

A spokesman for the club said: “We are delighted with the government’s decision to reopen all nightclubs without restrictions from July 19.

“The past 16 months have undoubtedly been the most challenging in the late-night leisure industry’s history, with the pandemic having dramatically impacted even the most successful businesses within the sector.

“We welcome the Government’s decision, which reflects its understanding not only of the significant economic contribution that nightclubs make, but also the vital role that this part of the late-night leisure industry plays in the continued health of our high streets and our cities.”

“We are looking forward to now welcoming customers back and doing what we do best: providing fun, unforgettable experiences.”

Gazette: Reopen - Atik, in Colchester's High StreetReopen - Atik, in Colchester's High Street

A spokesman for Yates pub, in Colchester’s Head Street, said: “We are really exited to be able to lift restrictions and offer our customers a great night out with the great atmosphere that we have all been missing.”

The Mercury Theatre, in Colchester, has been working behind the scenes for months in preparation for running at full capacity again.

Executive director Steve Mannix said: “We are delighted the Government has given the go-ahead and acted on the data from their test events held a few months ago where the level of Covid infections was minimal from a range of indoor events and performances.

“We have spent many months preparing for this moment following all guidelines and working with local and national colleagues to gain best practise. We ultimately want to ensure the highest levels of comfort and safety for our staff, audiences and artists alike.”

With support from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund the theatre has invested in extra cleaning equipment, electronic sales and staff training.

He added: “Audiences can immediately benefit from our new ventilation system and will be able to enjoy our brand new state of the art facilities in safety and comfort throughout the building.

“We look forward to welcoming everybody back.”