RESTAURANTS, pubs and salons were delighted with the support from their customers as they reopened on Saturday for the first time since March.

Owners and staff had worked hard to ensure a warm and safe welcome, and breathed a collective sigh of relief at the end of the day at how well everything had turned out.

Danilo Belloni, general manager at Piccolino Knutsford said: “We couldn’t be more pleased with how the first day of business went.

“We were blown away by the support received from our loyal guests, from those popping in to wish us well and enjoy a coffee on our terrace, to those that joined us for dinner with their family.

“It was incredibly heart-warming to see how much support there was for all the team, who adapted to the new safety measures brilliantly. Reservations for the weeks ahead are positive.”

Gary Johnson, general manager at The Mere, said: “Since closing our doors back in March, we had a team onsite who lived at Mere to ensure it was maintained during this period and ready for our relaunch on July 4.

Knutsford Guardian:

Gary Johnson from The Mere with a meerkat sculpture

“We’ve been working hard to ensure we’ve met all health and safety requirements and training, to ensure it’s safe for our guests and to ensure our team members feel confident in this new way of working. We had a great turnout at the weekend.”

Nicola Newton, from the Rose and Crown, said: “We made everybody feel welcome, and everyone felt quite safe.

“We greeted everyone as they arrived, and all the staff were briefed beautifully so they would be able to answer any questions.

“We were all nervous excited because we wanted it to go extremely well. A lot of people were worried they were going to find it a very clinical atmosphere, but they felt it was very welcoming.

“We were blessed with support from our regulars – they were all wonderful.

At the end of the day I breathed a huge sigh of relief and enjoyed a large glass of wine.

“I have never known anything like it – it was like an opening on steroids!”

Saks salon owner Paula Wood was exhausted but pleased with how everything went on her first day back on Saturday.

Knutsford Guardian:

Nicola Newton from The Rose and Crown

She said: “It was a really good day, and people said they really like what I’ve done with the salon and feel safe.

“People were nervous about coming in because they didn’t know the procedure. As soon as they came in we talked them through it, showed them round, and everyone felt comfortable.

“I was mentally exhausted by the end of the day because of everything, including having a TV news film crew at the salon, and when I’d finished my shift I felt a positive sense of relief because it had all gone well.

“The most difficult part was getting used to the routine, and on Sunday I was inundated with people phoning and messaging for appointments. Just before we opened a client walked past with some flowers and wished me good luck.”

Knutsford Guardian:

Paula Wood from Saks with a client

All pictures by Jonathan Farber