Excited business owners in Daventry counting down days until coronavirus restrictions lifted
Businesses across Daventry are set to welcome customers back as step two of the Government's roadmap to end restrictions comes into force from Monday.
Next week also sees the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
Lucy Melvin, who owns Diamond Appearance in St John's Square, said: "The countdown is more exciting than waiting for Christmas.
"I'll be so happy when Monday is here, I'm super excited."
She added: "Let the countdown begin!"
Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen, but only for use by people on their own or in household groups. Outdoor attractions can also re-open.
Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at step two and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated..
Ricky Singh, who runs Kitchen cafe/restaurant in Bowen Square, said: "We are really looking forward to be able to see our customers again at Kitchen.
"We've loved being able to deliver takeaways and support our customers, but nothing beats what we love to do best."
Ricky said serving outside is the first step up to 'normal'.
"That's one small step for a cafe, but one giant leap for the hungry," he joked.
"We've become pretty used to overcoming hurdles, so we just jump them as they appear now. And we can't really plan anything properly as it changes all the time. But we're grateful and proud that we've been able to almost embrace adversity and use negatives to build the business and connect to customers in different ways.
Ricky added: "Hopefully we'll all come out stronger and closer after Covid."
Sarah McCrossan, of Daisy B's Boutique in Sheaf Street, said: "We are beyond excited to welcome out lovely customers back into the shop from 10am on Monday."
Gabriella Bennett, of Gabriella Brides in Sheaf Street, said customers' safety is being taken seriously at the boutique.
She said: "After such a long time spent trying to keep our brides inspired through our social media we can finally welcome them back into our boutique and getting back to doing what we love, helping brides find their dream dress.
"We have all the correct safety measures in place to make all our brides' experiences still as magical as before. We are so looking forward to being back in store and seeing all the other local businesses open in the town."
Organisations have been working together to ensure the town centre and other shopping areas in the district are safe places to visit when lockdown measures are eased further on Monday.
Partners including the Daventry Retail Forum, Daventry Town Council (DTC), Daventry District Council (DDC), and local businesses want shoppers to have confidence in returning to the town centre.
On behalf of Daventry Retail Forum, Lorna White said: "For many Daventry retailers, April 12 will be the first day they have been able to open their doors this year, so to say we are delighted that non-essential retail is finally re-opening is an understatement
"Specialist independent businesses are the lifeblood of our High Street and town centre, run by incredibly passionate and knowledgeable people, often pouring their life savings into their businesses. These shops and services sit alongside the bigger stores including the wonderful Waitrose, to provide (almost) everything we all need.
"Your Daventry retailers have been working behind the scenes all through lockdown collaborating, sharing ideas and supporting one another via the Daventry Retail Forum, and have a number of exciting plans for this summer to include the return of our popular treasure hunts, Fiver Festivals and our street art event #chalkitup21 .
"With free parking, the choice of three major supermarkets along with more than 100 independent shops/cafes/restaurants, a twice-weekly street market, along with a new 24/7 gym, new restaurants and not forgetting the opening this summer of our new 4 screen cinema, Daventry town centre has a lot to offer. We are delighted the Daventry community and those from our surrounding villages are following the national trend by choosing to shop local, seeing the massive benefits in keeping the money in our local economy and ensuring the safety of local jobs."
She said shoppers’ safety is number one priority and retailers have gone to great expense to ensure people feel safe while shopping in the town centre.
Lorna added: "To keep up to date with what Daventry has to offer please follow us on facebook @DiscoverDav and be sure to read our new monthly column starting later this month in the Daventry Express."
Daventry Market continues to trade on a Tuesday and Friday, and non-essential traders start back on Tuesday (April 13).