The UK Hospitality sector reopened on Saturday for the first time in almost four months – and venues across the North West were said to busy – but with customers “staying local”.
Restaurants, pubs, bars and hair salons were given the go-ahead to reopen by the government, with social distancing and hygiene measures in place.
In both Liverpool and Manchester, parts of the city centres were often busy during the day, however it appeared many customers were put off by the weather – with rain hitting many parts of the region in the morning and early afternoon.
Elsewhere in the city, the Baltic Market was bustling, with people waiting to get inside when it reached capacity.
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Castle Street restaurants were also busy and people made use of outdoor seating when the rain eased off.
Business owners said they were glad to be back open on what was a milestone day for the industry.
Antony Harbottle, who runs Maray at the Albert Dock, said he was “excited but nervous”, adding: “It’s been nearly four months since we’ve done this, so there were a few nerves this morning.
“But we’re just glad to be able to open again and everyone that’s come in has been very supportive.”
In Manchester, the city’s night time economy adviser Sacha Lord tweeted on Sunday morning to say: “Well the surveys were right. Our towns and villages across Greater Manchester were busy last night.
“People stayed local. More importantly, on the whole, customers followed guidelines and respected each other. Well done Greater Manchester!”
Outdoor areas proved popular across the city, including in the Northern Quarter and the Gay Village as the city adapted to a new culture of pop-up beer gardens and plastic visors. The popular Northern Quarter was even equipped with new pedestrianised zones.
Tables and chairs were set up outside on Canal Street, while Thomas Street and Stevenson Square also proved popular with drinkers, the Manchester Evening News reported.
Bus stops were even used as makeshift shelters from the rain.
Many venues operated an appointment system, to ensure they did not become too crowded.
Early in the night, Greater Manchester Police’s Inspector Sean O’Connor said there had been a ‘positive’ atmosphere across the city.
Across both cities, indoor capacities were cut to maintain social distancing between customers.
But with the drizzle persisting well into the afternoon, many of the outdoor spaces remained empty.