JOY and relief tinged with a little trepidation is how Knutsford businesses feel about plans to lift all Covid restrictions.

Boris Johnson has confirmed that the legal requirement to wear face coverings and the one metre rule on social distancing are set to be scrapped when lockdown eases in two weeks.

Eateries will no longer be restricted to table service and limits on capacity will be scrapped.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and shops have welcomed the move but fear some customers may still feel a bit nervous about mixing in crowds.

Many hospitality businesses say they are glad to have the chance to restore some normality and allow people to socialise with family and friends in a more relaxed environment.

Knutsford Guardian:

Paul McGrath, general manager of The Rose and Crown on King Street, said: "It will be great to be able to run a pub as I've always run it in the past and not feel like I am police vetting people by taking names and numbers and telling customers where they can sit and stand.

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"I am in the business of hospitality and have been for 40 years. It's all about service.

Knutsford town centre

Some shoppers welcome all restrictions being lifted whilst others still feel a little cautious

"I will be glad not to have to wear a face covering for 10 hours on a sunny day inside although I understand how important they are for health implications.

"If I was in a full train I would put one on.

"I feel a few of our customers will still be a little hesitant coming to a full pub."

Publicans say they can't wait to see people chatting again at the bar.

Amanda Fairhurst, assistant manager of The Legh Arms on Brook Street said: "A lot of our regulars come to the pub for companionship, a chat and to see other people. With the social distancing rules they haven't been able to do that.

"Around 90 per cent of this job is social. It will be nice for families and work colleagues to be able to get together without restrictions instead of having to say I will try and seat you as close as possible but you may have to wave at each other."

Running a pub during the pandemic, she said, has been extremely challenging.

"It has been one of the hardest times of my working life," said Amanda. "We have never worked under restrictions like this in hospitality for 40 years.

Knutsford town centre

Many pubs, bars and restaurants can't wait to welcome families and friends to socialise again

"It has been quite hard to police because when people have had a few drinks, 99 per cent are happy to listen and do what you ask but you always get one per cent who think they can do whatever they want.

"We are mindful that some customers may want to sit somewhere where they feel safe. We are lucky we have space to provide them with more secluded areas."

Spanish tapas and wine bar Evuna on King Street is looking forward to operating without Covid restrictions.'

Knutsford town centre

Knutsford is looking forward to welcoming shoppers back

Admin manager Becky Stott said: "It will make a massive difference to us. We have had to close for the last 10 days because one of us was contact traced.

"We will be able to host more events and restore our regular wine tastings when we have wine merchants over from Spain.

"We will be taking Christmas bookings for office parties and families."

Julia Shard, who runs Mr Simms Old Sweet Shoppe on King Street, said:"Everyone just has to be kind and respect each other's wishes.

"I will be offering people who feel a bit nervous the chance to come in on their own if they want to shop safely an hour earlier."

Florist Charlotte Dafferns, of Dafferns by Allen & Allen, shared her caution, and said: "Our customers may still be more nervous and take a little bit longer to get back to normal.

Knutsford town centre

Florist Charlotte Dafferns

"People need to remember to be kind to each other and to shop assistants."

Readers on the Guardian’s Facebook page also shared their views on wearing masks beyond July 19 when it will no longer be compulsory to do so.

Tracey Ann Owen said: “Definitely for my own safety.”

Colin Ellis posted: “It depends upon the situation at the time.”

Julie Heath added she would wear a mask in shops and crowds.

Kevin Whitlow posted: “Yes, to protect people who can't have the jab due to health reasons.”

Steve Entwistle said: “I'll carry one with me and if on public transport or in a small shop I'm asked to yes but everyday no.”

David Hough added: “No. Not really worked have they.”