INDEPENDENT retailers in Worcester are getting ready to welcome customers back with open arms when lockdown ends tomorrow.

From Wednesday December 2 the national lockdown is over and Worcester, and the wider county, will be subject to Tier 2 restrictions instead, meaning non-essential shops will be able to re-open.

City business owners told the Worcester News how they are feeling about being able to open their doors once again.

Sue Bishopp of The Swan Boutique in Friar Street said: “I am so excited about opening up on the 2nd and will open every day up to Christmas Eve. The recent lockdown has compelled me to go to end of season sale early – I am offering up to a 50 per cent discount.

“Worcester has a wealth of independent shops, bars and cafes and needs customer and council support more than ever, not just now but continually otherwise Worcester city will become a ghost town.”

Tim Evans, who runs Toys and Games of Worcester with wife Vicky, said: “We’re really looking forward to opening and seeing everyone again – this lockdown, although shorter, felt longer.

“We’re fully stocked, we’re doing a full tidy and clean up ready for 9am Wednesday.

“We’re extending our hours to 9am to 6pm to spread out custom and will be doing late night Thursdays throughout.

"We’ve had additional ventilation installed in the shop to increase airflow and will be enforcing face covering rules.

“We have sanitiser and a one way system so we’ll be doing our best to keep the shop safe and the experience enjoyable for all. We look forward to seeing everyone.”

Michelle Rasdal, who runs Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe with husband Mark, said: “We will certainly be open for longer hours from now until the end of the 24th, seven days a week, but still with strict social distancing in place.

“What we have launched this morning is the opportunity for nervous or previously shielding customers to book a free appointment for a personal ‘after hours’ shop. Our lovely customers have been incredibly supportive and we want to offer anyone who needs a bit more space or a bit of quiet time to come and browse safely.”

Sisters Paula Farrington and Lisa Farrington-Martin, of Embrace Boutique lingerie shop, added: “We’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back on Wednesday with Covid-19 measures in place to undertake our fitting services.”

Samantha McCarthy, of Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), added: “Our local retailers are raring to go now that lockdown is ending. Please do buy from Worcester businesses to help support them and keep them going. It is vital for our city centre and High Street.

"Click and collect to your Worcester branch rather than opting for home delivery means the local store deals with the transaction rather than a national distribution depot.

"64 per cent of our retailers in the city are independent shops and if everyone in the county spent £10 in a Worcester independent retailer, they would be injecting £5.92 million back into the local economy, which is really needed right now to support the survival of our city.”