LEDBURY shops and traders were enjoying booming trade this week, as an easing in Covid restrictions allowed the town centre to put out the welcome mat for lock-down weary shoppers.

The same positive response was heard throughout the High Street and a wide range of businesses.

Elizabeth Blandford, owner of Blandfords lifestyle shop said: “It’s really nice to be back, and shoppers are happy to be back in Ledbury, which is such a safe place to shop.

“We’ve had children coming in with their Christmas and Easter money to buy toys, because they haven’t been able to spend it until now. It’s all really encouraging.”

Jane Salt, owner of Hay Wines, said: “It's good to see people coming in, all supporting local shops. We have been noticeably busier. We have been open as an essential business, but there is definitely more footfall, which is great.”

Lindsay Jackson, owner of Ledbury Books and Maps said: “Things are going really well. People are coming in and buying big piles of books, because it might all be very well shopping online, but you really need to see what is around.”

Tuesday was the first day back since Christmas for Charter Market Trader, Vivien Brandt, of Orchard Grove Preserves, and she described the experience as “pretty positive”.

“It’s nice to see everything starting to return to normal,” she said.

Steve Crowe of Past and Present in the Homend said business had been “really good” and there was a big rush for jewellery repairs at the start of the week.

He added: “It’s all been as good as I hoped. After the first lockdown ended, business was good, and this has been the same. People talk about shopping online, but the High Street isn’t dead yet!”

It was a mixed picture, however, for Ledbury pubs. One pub, which asked not to be named, reported full outdoor capacity on Monday, even with the nippier than usual April weather.

But other pubs were still not open.

A key factor for pubs re-opening is how much outdoor space they can offer, because indoor drinking is still not allowed. A sign on the main door of The Talbot in New Street said: “The pub is currently closed and will re-open again. Please check our website and Facebook to keep up to date.”

Landlord Richard Jennings told The Reporter: “We’ll open on May 17. We haven’t got a very big garden, and so that makes sense.”