AS RESTAURANTS, cafes, pubs and non-essential retail shops reopened across Helensburgh and Lomond last week there was no shortage of eager customers at local premises.

We caught up with a few of them at one Burgh pub, as well as a staff member at the venue, to hear all about their first day back after lockdown.

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THE reopening of Riva in West Clyde Street has prompted a flurry of bookings and enquiries already, and George Evans, operations manager at the hotel and restaurant and at nearby The Royal Bar, said the early response to the easing of restrictions has been encouraging.

He said: “With the unlocking travel restrictions have lifted but air travel is still a bit dodgy at the moment, so we’re now finding our bookings are going through the roof, for both the hotel side of the business and also the restaurant.

“The response from customers has been very, very good.

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“We’ve done quite well in respect of the local community, they’ve invested in us which is good.

“It’s been overwhelming for us because the local community have really supported us.

“The volume of enquiries we’re getting from people looking to just dine inside even without alcohol has been impressive.

“We have confidence that come May 17 with the further easing of restrictions that that’ll be more encouraging than anything else."

There remains an element of hesitancy among members of the public to return to crowded places and mingle with others outdoors and indoors after so long in isolation, but George said businesses like Riva and the Royal Bar are doing everything they can to make the experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

“Our message to customers is to have faith, believe in us," he added.

READ MORE: Reopening reaction: Helensburgh back in business after lockdown

“The confidence factor of walking back in somewhere for the first time in months, when you’ve been in on numerous occasions before, is a big thing.

“The confidence side of it just needs a wee bit of work yet, most folk are slightly hesitant, I know I would be, and I work in the industry. You make a judgement call as soon as you walk through a door.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Isobel and Thomas Boyce have a drink outside The Royal BarIsobel and Thomas Boyce have a drink outside The Royal Bar

One couple who never had any doubts about returning to their favourite haunt as soon as they were able to was Thomas and Isobel Boyce.

The pair travelled from Glasgow to enjoy an al fresco drink at The Royal on Monday, where 63-year-old Isobel told the Advertiser: “We come to Helensburgh quite often, once a week usually, and we get off at Craigendoran and walk into the town.

“It’s wonderful that places like this are open again and we’ve been liberated.

“The worst thing about the last lockdown was not being able to travel, although we have got to know a lot more of our own hometown; we’ve been in places we’d never been before on walks."

Thomas, 72, added: “We didn’t miss coming out and getting bevvied or anything like that, it’s more the social side of it, and having that choice."