BUSINESS owners have welcomed the reopening of gyms and other non-essential shops after lockdown.

Gyms and non-essential shops in all parts of England will be allowed to reopen when lockdown ends next month, the Prime Minister announced yesterday.

Boris Johnson told the Commons that the three-tiered regional measures will return from December 2.

Keith Devlin, owner of Ironwerx Gym in Barrow, said the announcement will be a 'welcome boost' to gym members.

He said: "It's fantastic news and such a relief for everybody. I'm really pleased for myself, other gym owners and members who so desperately wanted the gyms to reopen.

"Training is so beneficial to your mental health because it releases endorphins which makes people feel better.

"Our members were devastated when we had to close and some said they didn't know how they would cope.

"I'm really hoping this is it for closures now, especially the fact a vaccine is imminent."

Gary Wood, owner of The Derby Inn in Barrow, however, is concerned about the introduction of another curfew on pubs and bars.

Under new rules for Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels, pubs will be allowed to remain open until 11pm - but not serve any more drinks after 10pm.

Mr Wood said: "Shutting every pub at the same time is ridiculous and going to cause more issues because everybody ends up crowding together outside. "We've had a few issues around this before lockdown.

"The night before we went into lockdown we were kicking people out at 10pm then they just stand in groups outside straight after so it makes no difference.

"Now the Government is talking about extending it by an hour, but everyone is just going to bulk buy their drinks and stay until 11pm.

"And some pubs depend on those later hours of trading.

"I think a more staggered approach to closing pubs and restaurants would work better. "That way people aren't stood outside in big groups which is potentially spreading the virus more."

Some business owners are concerned that the lockdown is being lifted too early.

Smiler’s Café owner Lisa Clark is concerned for both the health of the public, and the survival of businesses.

“It’s too soon I think for the restrictions to be lifted," she said. “I understand that Christmas is coming up but it’s better to be safe than sorry. “This lockdown may not have been long enough, and if we come out too soon, we may bring on another lockdown. That would be terrible for businesses."