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Sigh of relief as business is back

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Sigh of relief as business is back

MANY of Annan’s business owners let out a sigh of relief on Monday as the country was moved down to level three restrictions.

It meant gyms, non-essential retail, cafes and pubs were able to welcome back customers following four months of closure.

And those lifting shutters for the first time this year reported a successful first week back in action.

Lesley-Ann Johnstone, owner of local gym LActive, said she’s “very relieved” to be open after such a long time, adding: “The buzz is brilliant.”

She said: “We’ve had it quite hard at the gym, we’ve had ten months of closure in total, which is longer than a lot of places, so it’s been quite tough but it’s really good, everyone has been brilliant this time, everyone’s come back nice and sharp, people are feeling quite confident, although keeping very safe.”

Lesley used the latest lull period to expand what’s on offer for her members, including launching a booking system, app and recipe books and she completed a nutrition course too.

She added: “It’s actually given us the opportunity to really make the gym flourish for coming back.”

Shirley Graham, owner of Rene’s Gift Shop, said she and her team are glad to be back.

She added: “Over the last four months we’ve worked behind the scenes just freshening the shop up, doing a refurb, all the old stock is packed away and we’ve got all new stock – it’s been refreshed.

“It’s a worrying time for all businesses, it’s worrying whether people will have money to spend and people are worried about coming back out into society.

“I think in this area we’ve been quite fortunate really, so it’s been nice to welcome everybody back. Let’s hope it continues and the wee town thrives again.”

Meanwhile, Tweedie’s Empire, which persisted with its takeaway service during lockdown, was finally able to reopen its restaurant.

Owner Leeann Tweedie said: “We were over the moon to get back open, a wee bit weary to start with but then you think ‘business is business’ and we all need some sort of semi-normal. We’ve all been trapped in for so long, so we’re still full of the joys of spring down here.”

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