'A huge day' – Ipswich ready for economic boost as indoor venues reopen
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Ipswich is set to receive an economic boost as pubs, restaurants, cinemas and museums can again reopen their doors to the public.
Venues will again be able to welcome people indoors from today, as the country continues on its roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown.
Ipswich's pubs and restaurants will be among those to be the biggest beneficiaries from the day, while theatres, cinemas and museums will also be able to return to trading.
Ipswich Museum and Christchurch Mansion are set to reopen from Tuesday.
Terry Hunt, chairman of Ipswich Vision, said the day will be a "huge" boost for the local economy.
He said: "This represents a massive step forward for businesses and for those of us who are longing for what we would call normality.
"It has been a cruel and exceptionally cold spring, so to be able to step foot inside a pub or a restaurant again is a big step forward to returning to normal life.
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"What a huge day this will be for our hospitality workers, who really have worked wonders in difficult conditions. It is a massive day for a sector that has been hit so hard.
"I hope they get all the support they deserve – it goes without saying that without our support, this time next year your favourite pub or restaurant might not be there anymore."
James Leamon, head chef at The Grill at Twenty5, said he is "so excited" to see customers back in his restaurant.
He said: "Monday we are almost fully booked, we've had to open up the garden again. For the first time since December, we are finally going to be full.
"We're an open kitchen, so it will be so nice to see the customers there.
"It is a really big deal for us."
Mr Hunt added he hopes the reopening will have a knock-on effect for the town centre's shops.
He said: "Retail has been absolutely sideswiped by the pandemic, especially with the closures of big name stores like Debenhams.
"Hopefully those returning to the high street will not only spend some time there, but spend some money too."
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt added he is excited to see businesses reopen and said he is sure the town will make a "real success" of the day as the path to normality continues.