Business owners welcomed back shoppers, drinkers and gym goers as restrictions eased on Monday.

Wallingford town centre was busy with customers eager to get out again.

Ali Jinks is the owner of The Wallingford Bookshop which opened its doors to customers yesterday. Book sellers spent Monday rearranging the shelves and opening up space to get in as many book lovers in as possible.

Five people or three families can visit the shop at one time and owner Ms Jinks said she has been impressed with how considerate her customers have been with waiting their turn.

She said: “I think it is really important for bookshops to be able to have customers in to browse it is so different to just doing it over the phone or by email.

“Particularly for children being open again has opened up whole new worlds to them by being able to show them new things.”

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Gym goers can now exercise inside and owners of The Body Training Studio in Wallingford were thrilled to have people back.

Owners Zoe and Mark O’Hanlon said they have and will continue to run their online group classes and outdoor boot camp classes while restriction ease, but were pleased to be able to welcome back customers to the gym.

Touch point equipment such as boxing bags have been removed and an extra room has been opened to give people more space to workout safely.

Read also: Abingdon retailers 'genuinely missed' their regular customers

The first day back was busy for the gym, but it was mainly open for members who could book a slot on the gym app which is also used for a contactless entrance.

Mr O’Hanlon said: “There is a vast number of people who are either furloughed or working from home, so it could be demoralising for them because they can’t get out and do the training they want. I think it has been a massive thing for people to get back out and start training again away from home and to get out and do something.”

Lynne Day is the landlady at The Coach Makers Arms and she said her first Monday back was as busy as a Saturday night.

After investing her money into transforming the pub garden with heaters and covers she was glad to be full with regular and new customers.

Ms Day said:“I was chuffed everyone was very complimentary about my garden, so it was a very positive night.”

She added: “I just invested everything, all my grants, everything into my garden and my B and B rooms just to make it the best it can possibly be.”

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However, the Ms Day was worried about reopening after being closed for months.

She said: “I was terrified about opening again, for four and a half months of worrying about what it will be like. I have only been here 18 months, so we have been closed for as much time as we have been open. Every time I get in the swing of it, we get shut again.”

Ms Day explained that customers were not there to get drunk, but to see their friends again.

She said: “It is a lovely cosy local pub and people were desperate to come back out and socialise again. Most of all I liked the buzz, the sound of conversations and laughter, that was the bit I got the most pleasure out of. People said they just enjoyed being with other human beings again.”

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