'It's such a relief' - Shops, pubs and more reopen as lockdown eases

Team member Shannon from The Old Bull Inn in Royston ready to welcome back customers. 

Team member Shannon from The Old Bull Inn in Royston ready to welcome back customers. - Credit: The Old Bull Inn

Businesses from across Royston and our villages have reopened, much to the relief of the community and staff. 

The April 12 reopening is in line with the next step in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown - and sees customers able to visit non-essential retailers and have food and drinks outdoors at pubs and eateries. 

Ahead of shutters going up, Royston town mayor Rob Inwood - who is passionate about promoting the town and urging the public to shop locally as much as possible - said: "An exciting week ahead for Royston!"

"As you are aware, tomorrow marks the reopening of many shops that were forced to close due to the pandemic and Wednesday allows the return of non-essential stalls returning to our thriving market.

"Let us all welcome them back and support them as much as possible."

And Royston First, the town's Business Improvement District, said on their Facebook on Monday: "Good luck to all our local retailers, hairdressers and gyms that are able to open today!"

The Old Bull Inn landlord Ben Chapman told the Crow: "We have had a busy few months to get prepared for welcoming people back to The Old Bull Inn and to say we are excited would be an understatement.

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"Getting back to being an integral part of the community again will be such a relief to both customers and staff."

IFixit Repairs, Royston, celebrated their 5th birthday on reopening day

IFixit Repairs celebrated their 5th birthday on reopening day - Credit: Tim Haynes

iFixit Repairs celebrated their fifth birthday on reopening day. 

The firm's Tim Haynes said: " We would like to thank each and every customer that has supported us over the years and have continued to support us through what has been a very difficult year!

"We are looking forward to seeing you all back in store now that we are able to reopen our doors to you all. Let’s hope that’s the last time we have to shut. We hope to see you all soon"

For this week, Tim and the team are offering free tempered glass on every repair, and for every purchase made in store between now and Saturday shoppers will be entered into our prize draw for the chance to win a refurbished laptop.

Lisa Fulton runs Tasty Bites in Royston with mum Tracey. 

Lisa Fulton runs Tasty Bites cafe in Royston with mum Tracey. - Credit: Tasty Bites

Tasty Bites cafe restarted takeaways earlier this month, and reopened to outdoor customers - who could dine in their courtyard - on Monday .

The courtyard at Tasty Bites, Royston.

The courtyard at Tasty Bites, Royston. - Credit: Tasty Bites

Lisa Fulton, who runs the cafe in John Street with her family, told the Crow: "It feels great to be back and to catch up with our lovely customers”

The first cooked breakfast from Tasty Bites, Royston, in four months.

The first cooked breakfast from Tasty Bites, Royston, in four months. Who's hungry? - Credit: Tasty Bites

A new East Anglia's Children's Hospices shop in Royston was declared officially open on Monday, with more money passing through the till than any of the charity’s other shops reopening across the region.

The ribbon was cut by Royston family Keely Blows and Curtis Irish, with son Teddy, nine, and daughter Marlowe, aged three.

EACH supported the family when their beloved daughter and sister, Tallulah, died from a cerebral infarction at just less than three weeks old in December 2013. They have since done various activities to raise £24,282 for the charity.

The EACH ribbon was cut by Royston family Keely Blows and Curtis Irish, Teddy and Marlowe..

The EACH ribbon was cut by Royston family Keely Blows and Curtis Irish, Teddy and Marlowe. - Credit: EACH

Donna Blakes, EACH Shop Manager, said: “Having had to delay opening due to the lockdown, it’s fantastic to finally be part of the community here in Royston. It was so lovely to have Keely, Curtis, Teddy and Marlowe cutting the ribbon, especially given all their incredible fundraising efforts. We’ve been working hard towards the opening and making sure the environment is safe for everyone.

"We have a lot of great bargains on offer and we look forward to welcoming more customers in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Please do get in touch if you have items to donate or a few spare hours to volunteer.”

Royston Library is also welcoming visitors back. Members of the community are able to browse the bookshelves and to use the self-service kiosks for borrowing and returning items - taking no longer than 15 minutes.

Social distancing measures are in place including queue management, screens on enquiry desks, hand sanitiser stations and quarantine areas for returned books. Customers are required to provide their details for Test & Trace purposes and wear face coverings during their visit.

Computers will continue to be available in one-hour slots for customers who book in advance. 

Michele Murphy, acting head of libraries at Herts County Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome customers back through the library doors. The service will look a little different for a while, but library staff have worked hard to ensure that a safe environment is maintained."