A BUZZ of excitement is sweeping through Knutsford as coronavirus restrictions start to ease.

Families have enjoyed meeting each other for the first time in months as six people or two households are now allowed to meet outside.

Knutsford Tennis Club was delighted to see players return as amateur outdoor team sports can also resume including football, hockey, swimming, bowls and golf.

Bill Jackson, club chairman, said: "It was fantastic to see our members back on court. This last lockdown people really started to struggle.

"But we're a volunteer community club and we treat it as a family so the 300 members have really pulled together and helped to keep each other going with has been terrific."

Shopkeepers across town say they can't wait to welcome customers back on April 12 when hospitality venues are also looking forward to serving people outside.

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Knutsford town mayor Cllr Stuart Gardiner said: "I hope the sunny weather will carry on for a few more days so people can meet in each other's gardens and enjoy the Easter holidays safely.

Knutsford town mayor Cllr Stuart Gardiner

Knutsford town mayor Cllr Stuart Gardiner

Knutsford town mayor Cllr Stuart Gardiner

"I also hope that when people are out and about they continue to socially distance and wear a mask where appropriate. Although lots of us have some protection from vaccines there are still a lot of people who haven't."

As traders prepare to re-open next month, he urged people to spend money in the town.

"Knutsford's character is determined by the number of independent shops and small chains we have," said Cllr Gardiner. "I would encourage people to go shop local.

People are being encouraged to support local shops

People are being encouraged to support local shops

People are being encouraged to support local shops

"If people want Knutsford to survive they need to support our local businesses."

Helen Dufton, who owns the town's oldest business Arthur Lee Interiors with sister Vicky Wragg said: "Last year we celebrated 100 years of the store our great grandfather opened.

"We are a very busy shop with three floors and 18 showrooms. When we reopened after the last lockdown we had never been busier."

The shop's interior designer Neve Squirrell said: "We are very excited to be getting ready for customers to return.

Interior designers have been decorating showrooms at Arthur Lee Interiors to welcome customers back with new inspiration

Interior designers have been decorating showrooms at Arthur Lee Interiors to welcome customers back with new inspiration

Interior designers have been decorating showrooms at Arthur Lee Interiors to welcome customers back with new inspiration

"We have an eclectic and quirky mix of furniture interior pieces which constantly evolve to inspire you. People have missed mooching and browsing. We want to lift everyone's spirits."

Peter Murray, who owns Pulse of Perfumery in Princess Street, said: "There is a very positive vibe, we can't wait to welcome everyone back.

Peter Pulses partner Melanie Seddon has designed a bespoke screen to ensure the safety of customers at Pulse of Perfumery

Peter Pulse's partner Melanie Seddon has designed a bespoke screen to ensure the safety of customers at Pulse of Perfumery

Peter Pulse's partner Melanie Seddon has designed a bespoke screen to ensure the safety of customers at Pulse of Perfumery

"I am confident that Knutsford will be buzzing. December was phenomenal, people were so desperate to get out of the house, the feeling was almost euphoric.

"I am sure the town will come back to life with a wonderful return of people from all over the area."

Cllr Tony Dean said: "I think everybody is looking forward to the easing of lockdown restrictions and I just hope we can rekindle our town centre.

"There are quite a few initiatives and I am quite optimistic. I think Knutsford will do well as there's energy in local people to get out and start earning money again."