High Peak businesses say it is 'fantastic' to be back open again after months of closure
Having been closed for months as part of the third national coronavirus lockdown, all non-essential retailers in the High Peak were finally able to welcome customers back this week.
Pubs and cafes were able to open for outdoor services, non essential shops, gyms and beauty establishments all reopened on Monday April 12 as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, and business owners say it is great to be back.
Matthew Blackwood, who owns both The Duke in Burbage and The Old Sun Inn on Buxton’s High Street, was delighted with the reopening.
He said: “We had a fantastic first couple of days and there was a brilliant atmosphere for staff and customers.
"We live in Buxton and we know the weather can turn so we were really worried what it would be like having everyone outside.
"We’ve explained to people that even if its raining sideways they have to stay outside. Everyone has been very understanding knowing we haven’t made these rules so they’ve come armed with their big coats, blankets and even hot water bottles to keep warm.”
Both venues serve food but Matthew says he has seen a change in food orders since Monday and has tweaked his menus now to make them more appropriate.
He said: “If people are ordering food its snacky bits to go with their drinks not starters and mains so we’ve had to switch things up and are now offering more hot bar snacks than meals.
"This past year has shown us we need to adapt quickly and be open to change and I think we have shown we can do that.
"Huge thank you to all the staff for all their hard work and to our customers as well for getting to grips with the rules so well.”
Over at the Buxton-based hair salon Lounge 41, the staff have also offered their thanks to their understanding clients.
Sue Selby said: “We’ve been rushed off our feet but after months of not being in the salon it’s been amazing to get back.
"The staff are working flat out and have some long days lined up but we really are thrilled to be back and its so nice catching up with everyone.”
For some, the past year has encouraged more people to shop local and Linda Arrandale at Rubies Rags in New Mills has noticed a change.
She said: "The first lockdown got people out of the house and walking and I think they realised just how many independent traders we have in our communities particularly in New Mills.
"I feel there has been a monumental shift in people’s attitudes and customers want to shop local and support local shops which have managed to stay open when the big chains have been closing down stores.
"Reopening this week has been great and it has been a joy to see the town full of shoppers and bringing life back into community.”
Across the High Peak gyms have also been able to resume face to face sessions rather than virtual training and Andrew Lomax from New Bodies Gym in Fairfield has had a busy couple of days.
He added: “We couldn’t have asked for a better return to work. There was a buzz in the place which you just don’t get from online sessions.”