‘It’s exceeded all expectations’ – Washington businesses shaping up well since reopening from lockdown
That was when the Government said non-essential outlets could reopen, such as stores selling clothes, books and jewellery.
Cafes, restaurants and pubs can now seat customers outside, while hairdressers and beauticians have reopened for the first time in 2021.
Not all bars and restaurants will be able to serve again until May 17 at the earliest, as many don’t have outdoor facilities.
But the overall feedback given to the Echo so far from Washington businesses which have reopened has been positive, with generally good weather playing a part.
Martin Thompson, licensee of the Courtyard bar in Arts Centre Washington, has had a great return.
He said: “It’s exceeded all expectations to be honest with you. We’ve been absolutely chock-a-block and it’s been like that every day since opening the doors. It’s been a combination of old and new customers. Hopefully it will get a bit warmer in the evenings too!”
Conor Snary, owner of Vinyl restaurant and cafe in Washington Village said: “Everyone seems to be making use of the tables. As one customer gets up, another takes their place. It’s been really good. Hopefully it will continue as the weather gets warmer.
“The whole village has been busy, which is good to see.”
Nearby Olivia’s coffee shop only opened for outdoor service on Friday, April 16, but said they were ticking over nicely.
When the Echo contacted Faye Bryant, who runs Bohdot hair salon on Village Lane, she has been extremely busy with customers.
Faye said: “Everything has gone really, really well and we’ve been busy all week.”
Joanne Baldwin, store manager of women’s clothes shop Roman in the Galleries, was cautiously optimistic after a few days of trading again and said business was up on previous reopenings.
She said: “It’s been quite steady. It isn’t back to how it was originally, but it’s picking up and it’s definitely been better than the last time we came out of lockdown.”
Monday saw Sunderland shoppers defy the freezing temperatures to make the most of the chance to splurge as non-essential shops, pubs and bars reopened for the first time since England’s third lockdown began.