SOMERSET’S bars and beauty salons were among the latest businesses to re-open at the weekend.

As Government restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic were eased, hospitality premises became the latest to re-open their doors to customers, with many celebrating with a haircut and a drink on what was dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.

And while many city pubs were packed on their first day back open, it has been much slower going in Somerset.

Among those to reopen was the Phoenix Hotel, in Fore Street, Chard.

Steven Jones, co-owner, said: “It is nice to get going, even if it is quiet. We will hopefully be able to bide our time and things will pick up again.

“Saturday was OK and Sunday was OK, but it as nothing like what our normal trade has been in 21 years at the pub.

“Monday was appalling, and we are not doing a quarter of the trade we were getting before.

“We really rely on older people eating at lunchtime, and I am sure Wetherspoon’s is the same, so our food trade is really down.

“Also, on Friday and Saturday we rely on the younger generation for the disco, which understandably cannot happen at the moment.

“It is going to be a long rebuild.”

Yeovil Express:

CHEERS: Customers at the Phoenix Hotel on Saturday - Rich Bridge, Ally Rednall and Simon Druce​

On Sunday morning, despite reports of problems with people not adhering to social distancing rules in some parts of the country, Matt Hancock said the vast majority of people who went out on ‘Super Saturday’ were “doing the right thing” and following social distancing.

The Health Secretary said: “Well I think that from what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly.”

He added: “So overall I’m pleased. It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely social distancing.”

Matt Hancock said the Government’s message to the public is “enjoy the new freedoms, but do so safely”.

In Somerset, police said there were ‘no significant incidents’.

“We’d like to thank all those who visited our towns and cities yesterday as licenced premises reopened for the first time in more than three months,” said a police spokesperson.

“Plans had been put in place to respond to an increase in demand for our services but we’re pleased to say there were no significant incidents.

“Covid-19 still presents a deadly threat and we’re grateful to all those who continue to take a personal responsibility to help control the virus.”