After more than 100 days in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic pubs, restaurants and hairdressers welcomed customers back.

On what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ (July 4) customers returned to their locals for a pint, their barbers for a desperately needed trim, and cafés for a bite to eat.

As businesses previously require to remain shut by law opened their doors following the largest relaxation in government lockdown rules yet, the crowds in Epping were maybe not quite as large as predicted, with many choosing to remain at home.

There were no queues outside pubs bars, restaurants or hairdressers in Epping High Street, although there was some excitement throughout the town over what many saw as a ‘step towards returning to normality.’

Epping Forest Guardian:

Punters were delighted to return to The Black Lion in Epping.

Donna Powell, who works in finance for the NHS, ordered a gin and tonic as her first drink back in a pub at the The Black Lion.

"I have absolutely been missing coming here”, the 51-year-old from Epping said.

"Normality hasn't returned but it's a new normal and I think it will be like this until we get a vaccine. But it has been really nice, the reopening."

Epping Forest Guardian:

Donna welcomed the reopening of her local pub.

The pub, which has been refurbished with Perspex screens at the bar and socially distanced seating, requires customers to fill in a Covid-19 track and trace form upon entry.

"People just want to come into their local and get something that's less about the pandemic and more like life as it was before”, Donna added.

Dunmow resident Neil Monk, who was also drinking at The Black Lion, said it was nice to see the high street “buzzing”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Neil enjoyed a draught pint of ruby red Guinness.

The 51-year-old, who opted for a Guiness as his first drink, said: “To walk in a pub and order a drink, it's great.

"It's been missed, it's just another sign of getting back to normality. It's slightly different obviously, going in and having to give your name. But that's going to be the new normal I think.

"It's just going to be more like on the continent where you sit at a table and place orders for drinks rather than sitting at the bar,” he added.

"I miss standing at the bar, but I think it's a while before we can do that again, if ever."

Josh Crissci, who has ran Italian restaurant Quore Matto for three years, said he felt “free again” after reopening.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Mr Crissci said he had lots of table bookings for the evening.

The 25-year-old restaurateur said: "I think everyone has been anxious to reopen in Epping… There are still rules and regulations, but it's good to be back."

The restaurant has introduced several safety precautions including a temperature gun.

"If you have got a temperature, you don't come in," Josh said.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Staff at Quore Matto check customers' temperatures on the way in.

He added: "To be honest, I don't want to get too busy. We have gone from 120 seatings to 48. There is distance to be kept and rules to be followed.

"I think a lot of people are getting excited, they think it's a return to normal but we are still in the phase where it's not 100 per cent it will return back to normal."

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