Highgate reopens: Pubs and salons 'elated' to be back as lockdown eases
- Credit: Polly Hancock
April 12 couldn’t come soon enough for Highgate business owners, who were ecstatic to finally reopen their doors.
With lockdown easing continuing, pubs, hairdressers and other non-essential shops were among those back in business.
Becky Dobney, who runs the Dobney London hair and beauty salon in the high street said that the reopening has been a “long while coming”.
"Everybody has missed being pampered, everyone needs some tender loving care and we're here to give it to them," she said.
"We're very happy we just need to catch up now and hopefully recuperate the losses."
At Hilltop Salon just up the road, Amanda Basye said she was excited but a little “apprehensive” to reopen due to being closed for so long.
“We have hit the ground running and so far we are very busy and glad to be back,” she said.
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At The Gatehouse pub - which opened at 12pm - manager David Campbell said: "It's great to be back, and nice to see all of the regulars again and to see all of the happy faces back in the pub.
"We've got over a thousand bookings in the first week, which is fantastic."
Drinkers were also delighted to return to the village's other pubs - with Conrad Whale a clear example, cherishing a pint at the Flask.
Shops are also anticipating a busy week. At Highgate Bookshop, Michael Goodwin said: "I look at France where in lockdown hairdressers and bookshops are exempt from it. I think: 'What a civilised country.'
"But the sun is shining, everyone is so happy and the shops are open. So far we have been very busy and people are in a good mood."
WCD Interiors owner Avril Castellazzo has prepared her shop with lots of "fabulous new stock".
"We’re very excited to be open today, at last, it’s been a long time coming but it is better to have waited the time and feel safe. We’re very excited,” she said.
Owner of Maloui Hairdressing, Nicholas Antonoudiou said he is fully booked for the next three weeks.
The 32-year-old said: "I am excited and nervous to be back open. My clients have already expressed that they're over the moon to be able to come back in to see me and it is great to be open again.”
Similarly, Ronaldo Ramos, director and senior hairstylist at ART Hair & Beauty, said: “We’re very happy to welcome our clients back. Our booking system is now open and we look forward to seeing you again.”
Co-owners of the The Cut barbershop Bujar and Jarado said they are also fully booked for the next couple of weeks.
Bujar said: “People are coming back again and hopefully everything will be ok and we won't need to lockdown again.”
The manager of the boutique charity shop Shelter, Claire May, 50, said: "I think we have been really lucky as we have a lot of support in our local area. It is great to be back."
Shelter volunteer Maisie Hoile is happy to see lots of customers coming in already.
"It's exciting to be back and to see things getting back to normal. We couldn't be more excited to be back,” said the 26-year-old.
Shelter is one of five charity shops in the high street. The managing assistant of the Cancer Research UK shop, Rajae Tazi, said staff were thrilled to re-open.
”We have been very busy already and we can see that the customers are also very happy to be back. We have done our best to prepare for the opening and have lots of new stock to share with our customers."
Essential retail has remained open throughout lockdown, but staff said they too are delighted to see the bustle return.
Luci Jones, co-owner of Kokoa London, said that she is happy to be returning to “some sort of normality again”.
“We're happier now that our neighbours in the high street will be able to open as usual. We have Pond Square right behind us and we look forward to seeing people having a good time there once again."
And at Greens of Highgate, staffer Finn Reece, 21, said: “ I am personally really glad to see everything reopening, as I am sure everyone else is, and hopefully it won't mean that there is less of a customer base coming in to shop with us."