RESTAURANTS, pubs and attractions in Tendring are raring to go as lockdown restrictions ease today.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week confirmed that indoor hospitality and household mixing will return today after stating that the data supports a further relaxation of measures.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues such as cinemas and soft play areas are now permitted to reopen indoors from May 17.

Clacton Pier director Billy Ball said that while outdoor rides have been operating since mid-April it will be a relief to see the rest of the attraction opening up again.

“This is the date we have been longing for and it will mean that we almost return to business as usual - but with the existing Covid guidelines in place,” he said.

“A great deal of hard work has been taking place behind the scenes to get us ready for this point and it will be good to welcome back staff who work in our indoor areas for the first time since before Christmas.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

RARING TO GO: Clacton Pier's new rollercoaster will be ready by the summer

“It has been brilliant to have families here for almost a month now outdoors, but it is so important to have all the attractions running again.

“We have carried out the cleaning and hygiene measures required and will continue to do so. There will also be social distancing measures in place and masks will need to be worn where necessary.”

Mr Ball said he was pleased for all those involved in the hospitality and leisure sector that they can start to trade properly again.

“Let’s hope there are no setbacks, and we can all start to enjoy a fun summer in as a normal a business environment as possible,” he added.

“Both Clacton and the pier are 150 years old this year and we want to celebrate that with residents and visitors alike and make it a special time.”

The new Looping Star roller-coaster structure has taken shape over the past week and it is expected to have everything in place and ready to go for the school summer holidays.

“The strong winds recently have not helped but we have ploughed on with the installation and it is going well,” said Mr Ball.

“The Looping Star has caused plenty of excitement already and people are looking forward to going on this new thrill ride.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

RAISING A GLASS: Pier Hotel owners Paul and Geradine Milsom pictured previously with Stas Anastasiazes

Stevie Robson, manager of the Pier Hotel and Restaurant, in The Quay, Harwich, said: “It’s hard to put into words how excited we are.

“The last five weeks have been quite challenging with the weather and being right on the seafront feeling the full force of this.

“It will be great to be fully open and offer more comfort, as opposed to having people huddled round a heater with blankets outside.

“All the staff are coming back full time and there will be a larger drinks list at the bar, as well as having our full menu available.

“I’m really looking forward to offering the nice hospitality, rather than ‘hospitality to get by’, and to continue doing what we love doing.”

Lucy White, who runs the Crown, in High Street, Manningtree, said she was very keen to welcome customers.

“We’re definitely excited to see what the reopening brings,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal and seeing everyone enjoying themselves inside again.

“It’s a step in the right direction, being inside means we can welcome everyone and no one is cold anymore.

“We have been very weather-dependent, so it’s going to be great having some consistency again and seeing everybody back enjoying themselves.”