Salopians look forward to hugs, holidays and indoor pubs as lockdown eases

From hugs to holidays, sitting inside pubs to soft play centres – Salopians have spoken of how they are looking forward to Monday's easing of lockdown restrictions.

Tom Casewell, left, can't wait to get back in the pub, while Pryce Vaughan is looking forward to watching Shrewsbury Town again
Tom Casewell, left, can't wait to get back in the pub, while Pryce Vaughan is looking forward to watching Shrewsbury Town again

There is an atmosphere of anticipation in Oswestry, which after resembling a ghost town for so many months, is beginning to hustle and bustle as it always has.

Shops are open and people are milling around the streets again and, while masks have become the norm the buzz has returned to Oswestry.

And there is a hope that the success of vaccines will finally mean life can get back to some sort of normality.

A raft on new restrictions are being relaxed on Monday, including pubs and other hospitality venues reopening, changes to the number of people allowed inside each other homes and people being allowed to hug again.

For shop owner, Mike Coppock the one thing he has really missed is hugs.

Mike, who runs the clothing and gift store Rowanthorn, admits he is a very tactile person.

Living alone, that had meant that hugs have been a no no.

Trader Mike Coppock, from Oswestry, is looking forward to hugs

"All I want to do it to hug, and be hugged," he said. "I do worry about the elderly people who live alone. They haven't been able to get out to their social events like coffee mornings and other events and so they haven't been able to meet up with their friends.

"I am someone who is happy with my own company most of the time and so being on my own in lockdown has not been as hard for me as it may have been for others. But hugs and human contact are important – and I am so looking forward to Monday so that I can hug friends again."

Tom Casewell from Llynclys is keen to be able to go inside the Wilfred Owen pub again. But it is not the pint he is looking forward to, but the company.

"It is a great community of people there and we have a chat and a catch up. This lockdown has really been difficult for those who are on their own and are missing the company."

He is also looking forward to hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation re-opening.

"It means I can go up to Scarborough and watch the road racing and support a local competitor," he said.

It may be a few more weeks away but for lifelong Shrewsbury Town FC supporter Pryce Vaughan, he can't wait until he can be back at the Meadow watching the games.

"I have been going for over 70 years and I can't wait to be cheering the town on again," he said. "I am really looking forward to next season."

Jackie Jones from Hinckley and Lorna Stokes from Sapcote say they can't wait to be able to meet indoors

Friends Lorna Stokes and Jackie Jones are holidaying in a cottage near Oswestry from Hinkley, Leicestershire. They were caught in heavy rain looking around Oswestry.

Lorna can't wait to be able to take her grandchildren to enjoy a soft play centre again.

"We go the the park but of course that is weather dependent and at least from Monday if the weather is bad we can enjoy one of our local soft play centres. It also means my friend can celebrate her 65th birthday in her garden with more than six people which will be lovely."

Jackie lives on her own and says being able to visit friends in their home rather than outside is something she will be grateful for.

"When the weather is good then going for a walk, meeting in the garden or sitting outside a cafe is fine. But with the weather we are having at the moment it really is difficult sometimes."

Local business owners say Monday's lockdown easing will help them enormously.

Kassie Tanumi and Kele Raturoko run the Fijian street food stall Kana with Kassie on Oswestry's indoor market. They are embarking on a revamp of their unit on the market to coincide with other improvements planned in the complex.

Kele Raturoko and Kassie Tanumi from Fijian food store 'Kana with Kassie' say the easing of restrictions will open doors for their business

"Monday's easing of restrictions will opening up so many more doors for us," she said.

"We used to run pop-up kitchens in pubs in the area which we are really looking forward to starting up again. Being able to have 30 people in private gardens together could be another opportunity for catering for private events.

"And of course we are now moving towards to starting up of events and festivals again. We can't wait to be able to get involved with those again."

Members of the family business Milanos coffee house and cafe in Oswestry has been been busy making sure it's indoor seating is ready for Monday.

Amanda Roberts from Milanos dealing with the wet weather and outdoor tables

Amanda Roberts, who runs Milanos with husband Jonathan and sons, Robert and Toby.

"We are so grateful to our regular customers who have supported us throughout the lockdown. Having the outside tables has helped but without being to open out tables inside it has been really difficult. And with weather like we have had this week sitting outside is not always feasible."

"We hope the customers will be glad to be back inside Milanos from Monday and be able to meet up with each other socially again."

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