HOTELS across the country are able to welcome people again after lockdown measures were relaxed at the weekend.

Establishments in the Lake District and surrounding areas will be looking to recoup some of the money they have lost during what remains of summer.

Jonathan Denby is the owner and managing director of South Lakes Hotels, whose properties include the Riverside Hotel in Kendal, the Cuckoo Brow Inn at Faw Sawrey and the Newby Bridge Hotel.

Mr Denby said: “At the Cuckoo Brow we had an amazing weekend

“(It) was full and the bar and restaurant were busy.

“We were really assured by the very relaxed attitude of the customers - they are happy to be back and we are more than happy to welcome them back.

“As far as the bigger hotels are concerned, it’s going to take time to build up to the full occupancy that we would expect at this time of the year.”

He said measures to limit the spread of coronavirus at his hotels included staff being temperature tested before going on duty and a machine being used to disinfect each room before usage, adding that customers had been ‘respectful’ of guidelines.

Mr Denby welcomed chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement yesterday of a cut in tourism and hospitality VAT from 20 per cent to five per cent but felt there were ‘no valid reasons’ for gyms and swimming pools, such as those at South Lakes Hotels establishments, to remain closed.

“Swimming pools are chlorinated,” he said. “They are the healthiest places to be, and you can observe social distancing in gyms.”

Unlike the Cuckoo Brow, the Gilpin Bridge Inn, near Levens, did not benefit from good custom upon reopening, having only two of its eight rooms booked out and the restaurant quieter than expected - even at the newly-reduced capacity.

Manager Debbie Nelson said: “That was only one-night stays, but normally we’d have them in for a weekend.

“If I look at the rest of the room bookings, they are not great either.

“We have always been a pub where it is very ‘last-minute’ for bookings. But if I look into the future, we have taken a massive hit.

“We had hundreds of cancellations for rooms and obviously they have not yet rebooked.”

Miss Nelson said custom in the restaurant was down by more than 50 per cent.