Pints, pups and haircuts - Dereham delight at April 12 reopening
- Credit: Abigail Nicholson
With car parks full and shops booming, Dereham was well and truly back open for business on April 12.
After months of the Cherry Tree Car Park being half full at best, people were struggling to find spaces as pub gardens, gyms, hairdressers, and non-essential shops were given the green light to reopen.
Regulars at The Cherry Tree Pub on Theatre Street Tom Thompson and Trish Stubbs who live on Trinity Close could not wait to get back, and even brought their nine-year-old dog Misse for a pint.
Mr Thompson, who has visited the pub for 30 years, said he was "chuffed" for the owners, Sarah Godsoe and Morgana Hale, when he heard the news they could reopen.
"It's the best pub in the town," he said. "I have never ever seen any trouble here and it's one of those pubs where everybody is welcome.
"They have done a brilliant job making sure everybody is spaced out and serving us, the atmosphere is brilliant."
The pub extended its beer garden to accommodate more customers when they reopened, with Miss Godsoe saying it's something they will "definitely keep".
Over the road at Dads and Lads barbershop, ran by Brian Cuddihy, some customers had been queueing for more than two hours to finally get a trim.
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The shop had more than two dozen people socially distanced outside an hour before they opened.
Breckland Covid Marshals William McKee and Trish Hawman said they were pleased to see people were still socially distancing despite restrictions easing.
"You look at the queue outside Dads and Lads and it's great to see people using common sense," said Mr McKee.
"We have been checking in on as many businesses as possible and they are all doing great, its brilliant to see the town buzzing."
It wasn't just people getting their hair done, the easing of restrictions also meant dogs could have their manes trimmed, with Digby being one of the first to visit Shampooches of Dereham.
Wendy Barker and Janette Chamberlain who own the dog salon have said they have received incredible support from their customers and are booked up until June with appointments.
Mrs Barker said: "It's like we haven't been away, with is more than we could have asked for.
"Even with people losing their jobs or being furloughed people are still coming and getting their dogs groomed with us, we are so humbled."
A few miles away in Gressenhall, FG Personal Training opened for the first time this year, with owner Freddie Grice saying he had been "inundated" with bookings.
Emma Hardingham, who was in the gym from 8am, said: "Freddie is the only person I saw throughout lockdown, online training every day.
"His training gave me continued focus in the hardest time and I'm so grateful. However I am absolutely buzzing to finally be allowed back in the gym."
Another business with a renewed spark was Blaines Electricals, which had been closed to the public since December.
One customer had waited almost four months to replace her oven, which broke a couple of days after Christmas, just so she could "see the lovely staff and have a full retail experience".
Alison Dobbs, 51, who has managed for five years, said: "We have been nonstop since we opened. Everybody has said how they didn't want to buy online because they wanted to see the product in person or wanted our expertise.
"It's great to see everybody again and we're wiping down every surface we can."
Easy Bathrooms in the Dereham Business Hub was also able to reopen to the public for only the second time after being founded in May of last year.
Manager Darren James said they already had hundreds of people getting in touch asking to visit the showroom.
He added: "We have 100 bathroom displays which we clean as often as we can and each one is more than two metres in depth meaning it's quite easy to social distance."