‘It’s been a great day!’ - Businesses and customers delight as shops, hairdressers and pubs reopen
- Credit: Dan Mountney
There was delight for businesses in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and across our area as customers flocked to shops, hairdressers and pubs on Monday with lockdown restrictions beginning to ease.
Pubs were expected to be among the busiest businesses as gardens opened up to welcome back punters, and the Wellington Inn in Welwyn was jam packed from open till close.
“It was full on all the way through,” general manager Dan Tubbs told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.
“It was a great day, a lovely response from people and we were fortunate enough to have some nice weather.
“It was full on from open to close. We had lots of people for breakfast, we were full for lunch and dinner and lots of people in between. It was just so great to be able to get back to doing what we love to do and actually have some real customers.
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“You can see the customers and the staff are just so excited to be back and to be able to chat with other people. It was very much a joy for everyone. People were saying they felt like they were on holiday being waited on hand and foot, getting great service and food – and also not having to do the washing up.”
The return of customers was a relief as well as a joy, with Dan admitting staying closed for much longer would have put the Wellington’s future in doubt.
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“Being closed has been absolutely horrific,” he said.
“The bills have still been coming in quite furiously, it’s a big building with lots of maintenance on it and we’ve got a big team as well, so it’s been a really tough time.
“Takeaway has just about managed to keep us afloat, but I don’t know how much longer we would have been able to continue if today didn’t happen. It’s just an absolute relief to have people back.”
Elsewhere, people flocked to Welwyn Garden City for much-needed haircuts and to visit their favourite stores once again.
Natural Health in Wigmores North was able to stay open during lockdown as an essential shop, and owner Julie Goodwin was pleased to see the city centre no longer a ‘ghost town’.
“This town was dead over the past few months, it was like a ghost town, but it’s so much livelier today and hopefully people will be more confident to come out as a lot of people are still very worried,” she said.
“My mum is 90 and she’s just had her second vaccine. She normally loves going out to the shops, but she’s been saying she doesn’t want to go out anymore which is so sad. It’s not just people who are 90, but younger people as well who are very fearful. But once they’ve been out a few times I’m sure they will be more confident to get out and about.
“You can already see there are more people around and there is a real buzz about the place. It’s just so good to see people out and about and to welcome them back.”
In Wigmores South, it was a hectic day for Café Trios, with a member of staff telling the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We were doing takeaway and deliveries during lockdown, but it doesn’t give us the same joy as seeing people and serving them face-to-face.
“We’ve been very busy today with very hungry people coming to us after rushing to the hairdressers, salons and nail bars.”
In Hatfield, Erols Café welcomed plenty of happy customers, with owner Hasan Yonucu saying: “It was a very testing time being closed, but ourselves and other people in the industry have stuck together and got through it. Customers seem to understand that and they’ve shown their appreciation by coming back to support us.
“I think people were even more friendly than normal because they happy to see not only our staff, but other customers sitting at other tables, so we are all feeling very positive. We are feeling a bounce back. It’s been a long time so we weren’t really sure how they would react, but it looks like it’s good. People want to be out and enjoying themselves so it’s great to have them back.”
Back in Welwyn Garden City, business was booming for Lambert’s Flower Company in Howardsgate after a slow start to the day.
Owner Paul Gibson was delighted to see customers back and he is feeling positive about the future after a testing few months.
“I think it’s going to take a little time for people to adjust to everything as it has been so long, but we are just delight to get the doors open, welcome people in and get back to some form of normality,” he said.