Wakefield reopening: 'For pubs, hairdressers, tattoo artists and beauticians it's D-Day'
Today is vital for Wakefield businesses' recovery, a pub landlord said.
Tony Padgett, landlord of the Black Horse on Westgate, reopened his pub today.
He said: "Today town has been buzzing, absolutely buzzing from early this morning. The queues outside the hairdressers and some of the pubs that were open early doors were huge
"For pubs, hairdressers, tattoo artists and beauticians it's D-Day.
"Before that the city centre has been dead. I've lived in Wakefield almost all my life and never known it as quiet as it's been the past 12 months.
"I don't know if all the pubs in town have survived, we'll find that out in the next few weeks, but it'll be good to see Wakefield full again - to hear laughter and music coming out of the pubs, and be back to the Merrie City as we were once known.
"It's all hands on deck at the moment and I hope we've made it to the other side."
He said trade at the Black Horse strarted early as the doors opened and there were plenty of walk-ins, but tables were almost fully booked from 2pm until the evening for food.
He said: "It's been so far so good. Plenty of trade in Wakefield today everyone is looking forward to getting back to the pub and having a chat with their friends.
"I want to be back in the pub rather than at work!" he added.
Blankets are available to be given out and there's a huge cover in place over the pub's large outside area.
Tony said: "We're trying to think of everything and keep everyone warm, but it is England.
"And we're having some teething problems so people might have to wait a bit longer for a drink but hopefully they'll understand and bear with us.
"But we're really pleased to open. It's been a long time coming and a really difficult few motnhs for us and everyone in the trade."
Bookings are only available for food, not drink and the pub will host more live music during the week when it's allowed.
Tony said: "I'm looking forward to opening fully on May 17 and, of course, the June date when we're supposed to be doing away with all the restrictions.
"I hope that hits target but I don't believe it will. The reality is we can't make any money in a town centre pub without normal trading circumstances."