The business sector has welcomed the fresh easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

The Government confirmed today that the hospitality sector, along with hairdressers, will be able open their doors from July 4.

“Thousands of restaurants, hairdressers, pubs, hotels and campsites will be breathing a huge sigh of relief today,” FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said.

“We’d encourage everyone to support their local small businesses over the weeks ahead as more and more are able to reopen. This has been an incredibly difficult time, but there is now some light at the end of the tunnel. The fourth of July can’t come soon enough.”

And he added: “It’s also positive to hear the Prime Minister speak optimistically about the reopening prospects for gyms, nail bars and nightclubs that have not been given the ok today. This is still an especially difficult situation for these firms, and we look forward to seeing them reopening once it’s safe to do so.”

The British Chambers of Commerce also welcomed the news: “These steps will enable more companies to reopen and will be cautiously welcomed in our business communities,” said director general Adam Marshall.

“While the relaxation of the two-metre rule will help more firms increase capacity, we are still a long way from business as usual. Broader efforts to boost business and consumer confidence will still be needed to help firms trade their way out of this crisis.

“A comprehensive test and trace system, including a mass testing regime, must be in place to realise the benefits that the easing of restrictions could bring to firms across the UK, many of whom are relying on the swift return of consumer confidence.

“Businesses also need a clear roadmap to recovery, including fresh support for the worst-affected sectors and geographic areas, and broader fiscal measures to get the economy moving again.”