Chorley's pubs prepare for the glorious 12th when they welcome back their customers
The countdown to lockdown easing on Monday has begun - with pubs especially preparing to welcome back their customers
Next Monday, April 12 marks the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Non essential shops will reopen their doors again, folk will be queuing up for haircuts and drinkers will be downing their first pints at the pub, albeit outside, for months.
Licensees throughout Chorley are gearing up for the relaunch
At the Talbot in Euxton its beer garden and marquee await drinkers.
General manager Cliff Thompson said he was looking forward to opening again.
"Yes, it's been a long time coming," he said.
"We're looking forward to June 21 (when England's lockdown restrictions are due to end).
"That's what we're hoping for. May 17 is when they can come inside."
Cliff said the pub would be making sure customers and staff are kept safe.
He said: "We will be adhering to all the social distancing and government guidelines - whatever the government tells us."
Customers have already booked their tables, but it's not compulsory.
Cliff explained: "They're booking at the moment, it's walk in as well.
"But if I've got not tables they won't be able to get a drink, but I'm hoping to have enough tables.
"If people want to book they can - it's entirely up to them."
The White Bull, Market Street, Chorley, put out the message on its Facebook page: "WE ARE GOOD TO GO""
It added: "Our outdoor area will be open from Monday 12th April
"With lockdown easing there are, however, new rules regarding ‘Outdoor drinking
"This means that we would recommend bringing jackets we can guarantee heaters and blankets, we can’t guarantee the Great British weather holding up.
"Tables of 6 from any number of households, parties can be catered for more than 6 but these MUST be from a maximum of 2 households. (6 people, 6 households is fine. 10 people from 2 households is fine. 10 people from 3 households is not allowed) not my rules , government rules
"Please only enter from front doors
"1st you will need to check in via NHS test & trace
"you will be then shown to a table in beer garden and drink orders taken and delivered to you
"Please pay by card when ever possible
"Customers only allowed inside the building to use the toilets at the moment, masks must be worn inside the building at all times - no masks are required outside. All staff will be wearing face coverings at all times
"We’re excited, you’re excited, if we all play by the rules then there shouldn’t be any reason we can’t now stay open and have the best summer."
The Wheatsheaf in Croston also had a Facebook message for customers.
It said: "We are now on the final countdown and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Wheatsheaf.
"We'd like to start by thanking everyone for your support and well wishes over the lockdown periods and we can't wait to see you all in person soon!
"We are welcoming bookings for outside table service from Monday 12th April so please get in touch with us if you wish to book! Walk ins are welcome however, longer waiting periods may apply, strictly no parties over 6 (2 households)
"This is it... We simply can't wait to see all your wonderful faces again very soon!"
Licensee Jon Lilley said: "We're looking froward to it, it's been a long time coming.
"People can't wait. Everybody is more than ready for mixing and socialising with their friends again - we're hoping we've got the weather."
Jon said there would be a full menu. The piub has also put in some exterior lighting as part of an outdoor feature to give the place "a nice welcoming feel".
Outside wi fi will also be available.
As regards bookings, Jon said: "We're taking bookings for half the tables and leaving half free for walk-ins."
Meanwhile, Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders Alliance, said folk should stick to the rules to keep themselves and others safe.
"We know what we're supposed to do with social distancing and masks. We don't want to get into another phase (lockdown) because it will just go on and on
"Vaccination is great but it's not one hundred per cent safe.
"It's going to be here for a couple of year until we really get on top of it - there's different variants.
"It's just about being sensible."
He said he expected the council to be out visiting businesses again to give advice and make sure they were sticking to the government's rules.
"They will be visiting hairdressers and nail places to make sure they're doubly protected with masks and visors as before because they're the ones in close contact with the customers
"They (council) have been round marking the pavements once again for social distancing.
"Really it's just common sense."
And he urged shoppers to get behind local traders.
He said: "It's important people support the local shops because if you don't you'll lose it."
Chorley Council said it will be helping to make the easing go easier for Chorley's shops and traders.
Last year the government introduced changes to pavement licensing with the aim of offering a quicker application process for a pavement licence.
The change is a temporary measure to support businesses selling food and drink.
The council said: "Although business owners need a licence to place tables and chairs outside their café, bar or restaurant on the highway (applications subject to criteria such as limitations of space on the highway) we have not been charging businesses a fee for this licence.
"Last year we recruited a team of Covid-19 Information Officers (funded by the ERDF Reopening of the High Streets Safely Fund) who are a key point of contact for businesses.
"They play a vital role in helping businesses with their implementation of safe working measures to help keep customers, visitors and employees safe, to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
"They have been proactively engaging with businesses on the lead up to reopening, to provide guidance.
"Businesses can get in touch with the team by emailing [email protected]"
It added: "We are aiming to have an increased presence in the town centre next week as more businesses reopen, with extra marshals (in addition to our town centre Ambassadors) to help with managing visitor numbers in the town centre.
"The council, jointly with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team are in the midst of planning a weekend of proactive visits/engagement with businesses (for 16-19 April)."