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West Norfolk businessman 'delighted' as Boris Johnson announcement eases lockdown restrictions further

Following the Prime Minister's announcement that camp-sites and caravan parks are among the businesses which can reopen on July 4, a West Norfolk businessman has said he is "delighted" but will continue to stay alert.

Mike McDonnell, who owns seven caravan parks in the area including McDonnell Caravans and 4Shores, said his staff had been working towards July 4 as a deadline, but was pleased to hear the go-ahead had been confirmed by the government.

He said: "I hope it does not lead to any kind of resurgence and that people continue to be safe and alert so that we do not go backwards. Other than that I am delighted by the announcement.

Mike McDonnell
Mike McDonnell

"We want our owners to come back into Norfolk to enjoy the places, weather and beaches. It is great news for everyone in our area."

Boris Johnson said hotels, pubs, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and camp-sites will be able to reopen on July 4. Pubs and restaurants will be limited to table service.

In response to the pubs reopening, staff at the White Hart in Swaffham took to social media to express their relief.

A post said: "Big announcement from Boris! Please bear with us for a couple of hours while we process the full report. But for now....we WILL be opening on July 4."

The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe has announced it will open its doors again on July 4 with a new Marshside bar and ‘transparent’ marquee.

The pub's Conservatory Restaurant, Sun Deck Terrace and bar, will be operating with social distancing in mind and on reduced numbers. All eating areas will operate table service, to maintain social distancing and avoid queuing, while there will also be pre- booked reservations only.

A spokeswoman for the pub added that all staff are undertaking thorough training in how to maintain customer safety at all times. And one-way systems for social distancing will be in place where necessary.

The Wenns Chop and Ale House in Lynn has also said it will be welcoming customers from 11am on July 4 following the Prime Minister's announcement today.

A social media post by the pub said: "We shall return with a delicious menu, incredible choice of drinks and our amazing bedrooms too. It will be great to see you all again."

Also under the new rules, indoor gatherings involving two separate households will be permitted – including the possibility of visiting reopened pubs and restaurants – but social distancing will need to be maintained.

The two-metre rule will be eased, replaced with a “one-metre plus” measure, with the protection offered by the physical distance enhanced by other mitigation measures such as the use of face coverings, increased hygiene or layout changes in premises.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson said the “national hibernation” was beginning to end, and “life is returning to our streets”.

The Prime Minister told MPs that progress in tackling the virus meant steps could be taken to “safely ease the lockdown”, but “caution will remain our watchword”.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that the two-metre rule “effectively makes life impossible for large parts of our economy even without other restrictions”.

He added: “We’re today (Tuesday) publishing guidance on how business can reduce the risk by taking certain steps to protect workers and customers.

“And these include, for instance, avoiding face-to-face seating by changing office layouts, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, closing non-essential social spaces, providing hand sanitiser, changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams.”

With guidance replacing legislation, Mr Johnson said he was relying on people using their common sense to limit the spread of the virus.

Officials acknowledged that July 4 was a significant step, but remained a long way away from normal life.

Among the measures announced by Mr Johnson:

– Pubs and restaurants will be limited to table service.

– People will be able to stay overnight in hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites.

– Most leisure facilities and tourist attractions can reopen.

– Cinemas, museums and galleries will be allowed to admit visitors.

– People will be able to go to hairdressers to trim their lockdown locks.

However, nightclubs, soft play centres and other businesses that involve close contact will remain shut – including nail bars and beauty salons.

Regarding camp-sites being able to reopen, Mr Johnson said shared facilities will have to be regularly cleaned.

And Mr McDonnell said his West Norfolk businesses have continued to keep on top of a backlog of work dating back to March including repairs and warranty work at the caravan parks. After originally hoping business would resume on June 1, the staff have continued to endeavour to ensure the parks are ready.

The Majestic Cinema in Lynn is also preparing to reopen "very soon" and a spokesman said they will be sharing more information in due course.

Andy Lawson, manager of the Central Cinema in Fakenham said: "The situation is quite fluid at the moment (as it is for everyone), so we have no firm plans as yet except to say we are looking at the back end of July for reopening."

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