BUSINESSES in Cumbria have reacted to a further easing of lockdown restrictions which is set to take place from today.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the reopening of bowling alleys, casinos and soft play centres. Live indoor performances, wedding receptions and more beauty treatments will also be permitted from today.

It is a relief to Steve Adair, owner of the Eclipse Bowling Alley in Workington.

“This is the third time lucky for us” he said.

The team have previously been given the go-ahead before plans to further relax lockdown restrictions were abandoned. Whilst making preparations yesterday to reopen he said: “We’re up to scratch and ready to reopen tomorrow. It’s all Covid secure. We’ll operate the lanes on half volume. We’ll keep the bar closed – we’re going to serve from the lanes so that people aren’t walking around.”

The green light is a relief for the team at Eclipse Bowling. Mr Adair said: “The trouble we had is we were one of the longest-closed businesses but nobody in our business got the support. On the Government list, we trade as a micro business but we pay medium-size business rates.”

Polly Sarah Sanders is also relieved to hear the news as it means she can offer more treatments at her beauty salon in Whitehaven. Beauty in the Barn has been open since July but certain close-contact services were not permitted until today. Polly said that it is “great news” as they can now offer facials as well as their eyebrows and lashes services.

“I’m able to bring everyone back full time," she said, and her business can return to full strength.

“We were ending up with big gaps through the day.”

But the team are thankful for their valued customers: “We have been steady and we’ve got great customers, we’ve had amazing support.”

The Government’s further easing of lockdown restrictions includes indoor performances, but this is not an option for theatre groups in Cumbria.

David McNeill, who owns StagedRight Youth Theatre in Carlisle with wife Sallie, said: “It won’t affect many people in Cumbria. For every two people you have got to leave four seats empty. I can’t see any theatres in Cumbria opening until they clear social distancing.

“There’s no financial support for small groups. The Government pledged so many millions for the arts but it won’t trickle down to many theatres in Cumbria.”

Penrith Players will be unable to hold performances at The Playhouse on Auction Mart Lane until January due to the size of their venue. Head of the committee Mike Head said: “We aren’t going to open – we couldn’t do it.”

He added that with social distancing in place inside The Playhouse: “The numbers are too small.”