Hugs and smiles as Sunderland businesses welcome customers back indoors

People have been able to share a hug and enjoy a pint or a meal inside as lockdown restrictions have been eased further today.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:17 pm

Indoor pints, trips to the pictures and hugs with loved ones are back as coronavirus measures are relaxed further on Monday (May 17) in line with the Government’s roadmap to lifting lockdown.

While many venues took advantage of last month’s relaxation, a substantial number did not – and pub bosses in Sunderland have told the Echo they expect it to be “buzzing”.

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People across the city have been enjoying indoor coffees and pints and hugging loved ones as lockdown restrictions are further used on Monday, May 17.

People in the city headed out for pints and cocktails, while others opted for coffee and breakfast – but almost no one missed the chance to give their loved ones a hug.

We’ve been speaking with business owners and customers in the city centre throughout the day – scroll down to catch up with our live coverage.

People reunite in pubs in Sunderland after lockdown step 3 restriction easing

Live updates as Sunderland’s businesses reopen indoors

Last updated: Monday, 17 May, 2021, 14:51

  • May 17 marks the third stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap to easing lockdown
  • Indoor hospitality, cinemas, art galleries and theatres are among the venues welcoming customers back today
  • We are in Sunderland city centre bringing you the latest as more businesses reopen

Coffee shop welcomes very first sit in customers

It’s the first time CoffeeHaus in John Street has been able to operate for sit in after opening for the first time in the pandemic and being takeout only.

Owner Ashley Bell said: “We certainly anticipated to be able to open for sit in sooner, so we’ve been holding on and holding on for this.

“We’ll be adapting as time goes on but our main focus is making sure everyone who comes in feels safe and comfortable.

“For some people it’s the first time they’ve been able to come out in a year so it’s about guiding them and making them feel reassured and confident.”

“People are blown away by what we’ve done to the building.”

Spent Grain in John Street has opened its doors for the first time today and co-owner Michael Jameson is delighted with the response.

He said: “It’s been really well received. Since opening this morning we’ve had people in for coffees and lunches and it’s all been nice and relaxed.

“People are blown away by what we’ve done to the building. I think in this part of the city there’s a real foodie quarter developing.”

‘Great buzz’ in the city centre

Stewart Brass from the new Geek Retreat gaming cafe in Sunderland’s John Street said: “It’s been much busier than expected.

“We’ve had a great response to the cafe and we’ve had lots of families enjoying what we do and there’s a great buzz in the city centre.

“We’ve got a lot of events this week to mark opening for sit in, with characters out and about in the city and plenty more events coming up for people to look forward to in the future.”

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