Reopening of restaurants, cafes, barbers and hotels in Southport is good news but we must remain sensible

People gather in the sunshine on Lord Street and Nevill Street in Southport town centre

MP Damien Moore has welcomed today’s news which will allow hundreds of restaurants, hotels, pubs, hairdressers, cinemas, hairdressers, barbers, guest houses and leisure attractions in Southport to reopen from Saturday, 4th July.

Boris Johnson announced in the House of Commons that social distancing rules would be eased from two metres to ‘one metre plus’, although people are being urged to maintain their distance from others as much as possible.

Two households in England will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight - with social distancing.

All the steps are "reversible" and dependent on Coronavirus cases continuing to come down.

Indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail bars and indoor play areas are among the list of businesses that will remain closed for now, although work and discussions are continuing to allow them to reopen safely as soon as possible.

Southport MP Damien Moore said: “This is good news. I support the measures taken today to allow more businesses to reopen.

“From a Southport point of view we will start to see people who will want to have a break and enjoy some time off and potentially a holiday, and I hope they will come and do that in Southport.

“Our businesses will be able to facilitate that, which will be good.

“I understand people will have lots of questions and I am in the process of speaking with Ministers to seek further guidance on different aspects of how businesses can open safely.”

One of the aspects which Mr Moore will be speaking to Ministers about is the ability for restaurants, cafes and bars to expand and set out tables outside their venues.

The MP wants businesses to be able to do this quickly easily without delays through applying for lengthy planning regulations.

He said: “As long as this can be done in a sensible way, then businesses should be able to trade outdoors in a way that would enhance safety for their customers while also making them more viable.

“Southport has some great assets in this regard. Wide open streets such as Lord Street are perfect for allowing restaurants, cafes and bars to trade with the capacity they need with social distancing factored in to keep themselves open. The difference between trading at 40% capacity and 60% capacity could be the difference between them staying open or having to close.”

While firms have been calling for more flexibility to be able to open, Damien Moore has firmly opposed one request from some firms - to extend Sunday trading hours.

He said: “The Government has decided against relaxing Sunday trading laws.

“As a former retailer myself, I recognise how important it is for people to be able to spend time with their families on a Sunday without having to go into work for extended hours in shops.”

Some stores, such as nail bars, dentists, tattoo parlours and others, have not been included in the list of trades that will be able to open on July 4. But work is continuing to help them to welcome back their customers as soon as possible.

Mr Moore said: “It is the right decision at this time not to open some businesses.

“I will be encouraging the Government to take further steps to open more venues when they can ensure that the necessary safety measures are in place. It is all about risk management. This is an airborne disease which can spread very easily when people get too close to one another.

“Personally, I am desperate for gyms to reopen! There are lots of things that we will all want to do.

“But we have made significant progress today. There are lots of positives for us to take.

“Hopefully we are moving in the right direction.”