IT WAS a mixed reaction from the hospitality and leisure sector in East Lancashire after Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined his roadmap out of lockdown on Monday.

In his speech to the Commons, Mr Johnson provided key dates set-out in a four-step plan detailing when certain restrictions would be lifted across the country.

In a largely optimistic announcement, he told MPs that the re-opening of schools and permittance of outdoor recreation would happen on March 8, as well as socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person.

The Clifton Arms

The Clifton Arms

From March 29, larger groups would be allowed to gather, with a return to the ‘rule of six’ allowing for meetings in gardens and outdoor settings.

He also said from March 29, the British public would no longer be advised to 'stay at home'.

From April 12, major parts of the economy would re-open such as non-essential retail, hairdressers, beer gardens, and indoor leisure including swimming pools and gyms, with the 'rule of six' being abolished for outdoor gatherings from May 17, although this would still be applied in indoor hospitality settings.

Finally, the PM said by June 21 all legal limits on social contact should be removed.

However, Mr Johnson advised that the easing of lockdown would be 'led by data and not dates', as he warned his plan was provisional and could be subject to change.

Darren Heggie, who runs the Havelock Inn in Blackburn welcomed the news.

He said: "This is brilliant. I've spent a lot of money on a marquee and outdoor space for the Havelock so I can't wait to open my doors on April 12.

"In my opinion though all pubs, not just ones with beer gardens should be allowed to open."

The Havelock Inn, Blackburn

The Havelock Inn, Blackburn

For Carole Davies, who runs the Clifton Arms in Blackburn, the announcement was bittersweet as she said her pub would have to remain closed until May.

She said: "We kind of expected this to be the case. It's good that we've got something to look forward to but we have no outdoor space, and neither do 80 per cent of the pubs in this country.

"And we can't rely on the Great British weather to ensure people come out."

Whereas Laura Smithies who runs the Brown Cow in Clitheroe was a little more optimistic.

She said: "I'm happy that we have a glimmer of hope and that Boris seems to be opening things sensibly.

"I really think the rule of six is a great start and can be managed as we did before.

"I definitely don't want to go through this again so let's hope publicans and customers follow the rules so that we keep infection rates down, ready to open more freely in June."

Meanwhile, it was light at the end of the tunnel for the fitness and wellbeing industry, although studio and gym owners said more clarity was needed and they wouldn't be holding out for a return to indoor classes come April.

Tessa Clemson Yoga

Tessa Clemson Yoga

Tessa Clemson who owns a yoga studio in Great Harwood said: "If gyms can open but no group classes can take place, like in Tier 3, then I won't be able to re-open.

"It's like everything else though, it's shrouded in uncertainty and we need more clarity in terms of group classes.

"I will be aiming for April but will have to wait till nearer the time before I can start to put things in place.

"It's good to be able to have a light at the end of the tunnel and nice to know the end is in sight but we do need more clarity.

"It was so disheartening when we were told we could open, to then have to close again, so to be honest, even though I'm raring to go, I'll be keeping an open mind and will try to remain as flexible as I can."