SHOPS, restaurants, and pubs will be reopening for the first time in four weeks after the national lockdown.

Businesses across the county have been busy preparing for the switch from lockdown measures into Tier 2 restrictions.

Oxford was bustling with people yesterday as businesses prepared to reopen their doors for the Christmas shopping period.

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The owner of Fresh clothing in the Covered Market, Angela said: “We are really happy we can open tomorrow and hopefully we can have a good run-up to Christmas which would be very important.

“Personally I support the tier two measures because I think we need to keep everyone safe, so I think we are okay in tier two and if everyone is very sensible hopefully we can get through to Christmas and then get to the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Karmia Bondere is the manager at the hairdresser Beauty Within Didcot on Broadway and says the new tier will not affect the way the salon functions.

She said: “Nothing different will be happening tomorrow when we reopen, we will just be following the Covid-19 guidelines and putting health and safety first.

“I do not think being in tier two will change anything.

“I am sure we will get our customers back because people still need their hair doing.”

Read also: Are pubs the 'safest place' to be?

Gordon Piggott, owner of Bonners' vegetables in the Covered Market, said whilst the shop had remained open over lockdown, he was looking forward to supplying pubs and restaurants with vegetables again.

He said: “I am looking forward to lockdown finishing because it means pubs, restaurants, cocktails bars, well not so much cocktail bars, will be back open which is a chunk of our business.

“We supply a lot of independent Oxford businesses, it amounts to about half of our trade and so we lost that trade for about six months of the year already.

“We have not only felt the knock-on effect of the pubs and restaurants closing, but our suppliers have as well because I am not supplying all the places I would usually supply, so I am taking about half of what I usually would from my supplier.

“Only a few of our pubs have been doing takeaway over this lockdown so we’ve really felt the pinch.

“Everything has just been pretty bad all over. But we are all gearing up and getting ready.

Oxford Mail:

“I got into work at half six this morning and I haven’t stopped. We’ve just been sorting out all our orders and getting them delivered, it has been pretty full on this morning.

“This lockdown was not the same as the last one though. It hasn’t been as hard as it was.

“The market has been open this time and that has been great for everyone’s mental health, as customers have been able to come in and talk to us.”

Carly Lissenden, manager of the Fox in Steventon, said it would reopen with a scale-down Christmas menu.

She said: “Our customers, most of who live nearby, will not be able to buy a three-course meal every day – it becomes unaffordable.

“Even with tighter restrictions, many from the village have visited and even outsiders as well.

“It is a shame we will not be able to welcome people for just a drink but, at the same time, there are many who would be thrilled to come out and have dinner.”

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One member of the public told the Oxford Mail she was looking forward to seeing her friends again more than the reopening of shops and restaurants.

She said: “I am most looking forward to seeing people and having a sense of community again even though it is always kind of confusing with the rules to work out with friends what they are comfortable with.

"I am excited for the pubs to finally reopen too.”

Oxford Mail:

South Oxfordshire District councillor David Rouane said: "This year it seems particularly important for people [to shop locally] in order to help independent traders who have been badly hit by the recent restrictions.

"Many of those who have been affected will be your friends and neighbours, as well as individuals who are familiar and friendly faces when visiting our town centres."

Vale of the White Horse and South Oxfordshire will also provide free parking days in December to encourage people to shop locally.