PUBS in Malvern are excited after making good progress in the first week back from lockdown.

Watering holes across the country were allowed to re-open from July 4, and Malvern’s pubs have been seeing steady footfall as regulars return to their favourite drinking spots.

James Grant, manager of the Bluebell at Barnards Green, said the first week back had been positive, with staff and regulars taking to the new social distancing measures easily.

He said: "We opened last Saturday and the response was amazing.

"We had lots of new and old guests coming in and it was great to see all these friendly faces again.

"We have got signs around the pub telling customers how the system works with table service and only allowing two people at the bar at once.

"So far the staff and regulars have been great. It really felt like a new beginning."

READ MORE: Four Malvern Lib Dem councillors quit party over leader's resignation

Mr Grant also welcomed the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a major support package for the hospitality industry, including paying businesses which have furloughed staff £1,000 for every employee they bring back.

He added: "The chancellor’s announcement is massive, and obviously as we are a chain we are waiting for head office to give us the full details and plans, but the plans mean there is more chance of keeping staff on which is great."

Another popular Malvern pub which re-opened was the Nags Head. Manager Alex Whistance said everyone from the pub was delighted to be back and are all adjusting well to the “new normal”.

He said: "It has gone alright this week. Everyone has followed the new rules but it does feel different.

"We have got a flow system in place in the pub and people have to sit down for table service. We are just happy to be open again, it is strange, but it is just a new regime and a different way of operating.

READ MORE: "Eat out to help out" - Key points from Rishi Sunak's announcement

"Any support from the government is welcomed. It is just great to be back and see all the faces again. We will just have to take things step by step."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s support package is designed to help the hospitality industry recover from the coronavirus crisis.

The plans will see businesses which have furloughed staff given a £1,000 bonus to keep workers in jobs, stamp duty cut, an “eat out to help out” scheme for dining out in August to boost the hospitality sector with a 50 per cent discount per head from Monday to Wednesday up to a maximum saving of £10 per diner.

He has also slashed VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, a tax cut worth up to £4 billion.