BUSINESSES across the county are nervously awaiting news of when they can re-open after lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that a reduction in lockdown measures was on its way, but would be "cautious but irreversible".

This means for many business owners, like Martha Newbury, it is a nervous wait to see when they can re-open.

Mrs Newbury, who runs Exclusive Gym in Broughton Hackett alongside her husband Phil, who is the gym's founder, said she feels they can re-open safely, having invested in covid safety measures during the first lockdown.

She said: "We have a really unique facility in that we can hold classes outside. Our space outdoors was used as a forest school for the children and we are definitely confident we can re-open safely.

"During the first lockdown, we had to come up with a plan for how we can make our facility safe. We moved our equipment and spaced it out and installed extra decking for activities outside.

"We never had any complaints in that time and everyone was wearing masks and keeping social distancing, so we are hoping we can be high up on the list of businesses allowed to re-open."

Another Worcester business owner is Nigel Smith, landlord of both The Cardinal's Hat in Friar Street and The Fleece Inn at Bretforton.

He said he was very keen to re-open, saying he and his staff had worked tirelessly to be covid-safe during the previous lockdowns. He said: "We are very keen to get open as soon as we can. Like a lot of businesses, it has been a difficult time, so we are looking forward to being back trading again and see our customers after such a long time.

"We are ready to respond quickly to any lockdown changes. Back during the first lockdown we obviously invested in safety measures and training, so we know we can open safely."

Mr Smith also said he hopes a similar package of support to the first lockdown is given by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak. He said: "The five per cent VAT cut has been absolutely vital for us with the extra costs of staffing and running costs in a covid-hit economy.

"We are cautiously optimistic and are waiting for things to come out with regards opening with outside service. We are lucky with both The Cardinal's Hat and The Fleece to have space outside we can use."