'Electric atmosphere' as gyms, libraries and museums reopen

Bowling House, Dereham Road, Norwich. Sam Leonard, Dan Knights and Kelly Claypole.Picture: ANTONY KE

Sam Leonard (left) marketing manager of The Bowling House on Dereham Road Norwich, pictured with colleagues Dan Knights and Kelly Claypole in 2018 when the business opened. - Credit: Archant

There were queues and people "on cloud nine" as gyms, leisure attractions and libraries reopened after the national coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

Gym owners said clients were ecstatic to be back working out - mainly because the lockdown had a detrimental impact on people's mental health.

Leisure and cultural attractions were also happy to be open again and said there was a lot of support from people who wanted to return.

Sam Leonard, marketing manager for The Bowling House on Dereham Road, Norwich, said: "It will be nice to hear bowling balls again. Norwich has a lot of independent businesses and that is something we are proud of as a city.

"If you want Norwich to be a place you love, support businesses because if these places go, it will be a poorer place."

He added there were still a lot of questions about Tier Two restrictions, but added: "We are keeping going and keeping our enthusiasm. We have to adapt."

Mr Leonard said people were comfortable returning to the business, which used lockdown to promote its food and takeaway service.

He added that was a positive side of 2020.

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At libraries, staff at Poringland, Watton, Gorleston and Earlham reported eager readers waiting outside the community buildings at opening time as well as steady streams of people throughout the day.

Jasmine Wilson-Daze, manager at Poringland and Loddon libraries, said: "People have been so grateful we are open again and we've already had to top up gaps on the shelves."

Gym owners are also glad to be reopening.

Mark Bone, 42, managing director of Phoenix Gym Norwich, at St Marys Works, Norwich, said: "I'm elated and over the moon. It feels so much nicer and more of a relief coming out of lockdown. The atmosphere is electric."

Mark Bone, managing director of Phoenix Gym Norwich.

Mark Bone, managing director of Phoenix Gym Norwich. - Credit: Phoenix Gym Norwich

He warned: "If we were to lockdown again it would be devastating for the business."

Imogen Clarke, owner of Inspire Personal Training Studio on Page Road, Norwich, said all her clients were happy to return and said December was "heaving" in terms of business for her and her five other personal training colleagues who share the building.

Imogen Clarke, from Drayton, who set up Inspire Personal Training Studio in Norwich. Picture: Inspir

Imogen Clarke, owner of Inspire Personal Training Studio. - Credit: Inspire Personal Training Studio

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life, and Lynn Museum are also reopening from December 3.

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