With the first Bank Holiday weekend since lockdown restrictions eased just round the corner, traders are looking forward to welcoming visitors from West Cumbria and beyond to their beer gardens once again.

After months of closures, uncertainty and difficulty, many pubs and bars in Workington and the rest of the county have updated their outdoor spaces, ensuring customers can enjoy their favourite meals and drinks in the sun – and in-line with Covid restrictions.

Since April 12, up to six people from separate households could meet outside, with non-essential retailers and the hospitality industry able to open.

And with the first of May’s two Bank Holidays coming next week, on May 3, Mike and Denise Rollo, of the Royal George Inn, are hopeful they will have a brilliant – and busy – weekend.

“At the moment we’re feeling quite optimistic,” the Workington landlord said.

“We’re almost fully booked for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we’re feeling pretty positive – providing the weather is nice enough!

“It’s a case of doing what needs to be done to make our customers feel safe and happy, and that’s what we’ve done.”

He continued: “We’d like to say thank you to our regulars who have returned to us since lockdown lifted, and we’re just hoping that those who come to use because we have the beer garden become regulars as well.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everyone over the Bank Holiday, and in the future too, hopefully.”

If the number of Covid cases remains low enough, the month’s second Bank Holiday – on May 31st – could see the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown reached, meaning that as of May 17, restrictions on outdoor gatherings will be lifted, with a maximum of 30 people being allowed to meet outside.

And while The Junction owner, Lloyd Burnie, has to wait until May 20 to open his doors, the town-centre bar owner remains hopeful for the future.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to opening, and seeing people get back to some sort of normality.

“The first weekend we can open, it’s going to be like Easter Sunday, Boxing Day and Mad Friday rolled into one – it’ll be the biggest party Workington has ever seen!”

Although the bar doesn’t accept bookings, Mr Burnie has already been overwhelmed with calls to book a table when the dancefloor opens at the end of June – and he hopes this fantastic support continues after May’s busy Bank Holiday weekends.

“It’s so important to keep it local and help out your local traders and pubs,” he said.

“We’re all so grateful for our customers, and people may want to go to Manchester or Liverpool, but you always need somewhere to go when you’re in town. It would be amazing if people could support us all after a horrible 16 months.”

To keep up-to-date on the latest restrictions, visit the gov.uk website.