Hospitality and hairdressing businesses in Haverhill have praised the support of staff and customers as they prepare to reopen their doors this weekend.
A number of pubs, hairdressers and barbers will reopen on Saturday while adhering to national guidance around social distancing and safety measures.
The Royal Exchange, in the High Street, is one of the pubs that will be opening for the first time in almost three months with new measures including table service, a bigger outdoor area and a member of staff at the entrance monitoring the number of people inside.
Landlord Brian Walford said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming our loyal customers back this Saturday.
“Our staff have been amazing. They are all happy to come back, they have gone through various training and they know we are taking all the necessary precautions.
“I have been in the trade for more than 20 years and while these have been incredibly difficult times, we are hopeful for the future.”
Nine Jars in the High Street adapted their business to offer a popular takeaway service during lockdown.
Owner Dan Pilley said: “From Saturday, we will be offering a more relaxed environment around coffee and cocktails as well as street food from around the world.
“We have developed a larger seating area outside to adhere to social distancing.
“It has been a long time coming and difficult for everyone, but we are just looking forward to welcoming customers back to this new normal.”
Hairdressers and barbers across the town have also spoken of their excitement as they prepare to reopen.
Michelle Wicks, owner of D:fine in the High Street, said: “It is lovely to be back. We have worked so hard to ensure the shop is very safe for all while also offering a welcoming and relaxed environment.
“We have had such lovely comments from our clients throughout lockdown and we are delighted to be fully booked through to August.”
Sam Prior, co-owner and founder of the MR. Barbers chain, said every effort has been made to ensure their Queens Street shop meets national guidelines.
He added: “Our barbers are all being very flexible to ensure we can fit everyone in and we are all looking forward to doing what we love.
“Our customers are like friends really so it will be great to welcome them all back.”
John Mayhew, spokesman for Heart of Haverhill, a task group of ONE Haverhill Partnership set up to promote the town centre, said he was pleased to see more businesses preparing to reopen.
He said: “This Saturday will mark another milestone in the planned recovery of our economy with more businesses able to reopen their doors.
“Heart of Haverhill has been hugely impressed by the conscientious effort put in by business owners to ensure their premises fit national guidelines around social distance and personal safety.
“Whether you are a hairdresser or a local pub, or maybe a town centre business who now feels more ready to start trading once more, in the traditional sense, we wish you all the very best and we are here to support you.”