Excitement as more Larne businesses prepare to open

More businesses throughout Larne are preparing to open this week in keeping with a further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 9:47 am

There was a welcome return to the salon for hairdressers and other close-contact services on Friday, along with the opening of outdoor visitor attractions. Driving lessons were also allowed to resume.

Check out our exclusive photo gallery showing the atmosphere in some local businesses when they opened up.

This Friday (April 30) sees the opening of a variety of other businesses, including outdoor hospitality, gyms and non-essential retail.

Sharon McErleane of Arta Hair and Beauty with Anne Marshall on opening day of the salon. INLT 17-001-PSB COVID

There was no doubt that appointments in hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons across Larne were in big demand as clients sought to lose their lockdown looks.

Helen Kelly of Harmony Therapies in Glynn Road was thrilled at being able to open her business up again.

“I am delighted to be back doing what I love full time, all the customers have been so excited to get their appointments,” she said.

“I was able to see urgent referrals during this lockdown which made a massive difference to people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“The MEA business revitalisation grant enabled me to make adjustments and improvements to make things safer,” she added.

Helen spent some of her time during lockdown helping out in the NHS.

“Since January I have worked part time as a nursing assistant for the NHS and I’ve really enjoyed getting out and helping people,” she said.

“As Harmony Therapies celebrates its 18th year in May, I’m grateful to have been very blessed with a job that I love and the most amazing customers, many who have been a client since 2003,” Helen added.

Some of Helen’s clients will know that she has also been busy studying in recent years. She has just learned her hard work has now really paid off.

“I found out this week that I have been accepted onto the very first paramedic science degree in NI. There were only 40 places and I was lucky enough to get one of them at the Ulster University,” said Helen.

“It means I will be reducing my business hours from September, but I’ll still be seeing my regular clients whilst studying to be a paramedic, which is something I’ve always dreamed of,” she added.

With more changes on their way this week, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, stressing that that safety is paramount for shoppers and retailers alike.

The council’s Town Centre team is supporting businesses by distributing locally branded face coverings which carry distinct branding for each of the three main shopping towns of Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena.

“These face coverings have been designed to promote our town centres in Mid and East Antrim, and we want to get the message out that safety remains our top priority to protect shoppers and staff.

“Council’s Town Centre team will be distributing the face coverings to local businesses who wish to avail of them.”

In addition, public sanitiser stations will be installed in the town centres to help keep shoppers safe.

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