HOTELS across Malvern have reflected on how business has gone in the first days and weeks since lockdown began to be lifted.

AJ Bains, general manager of the Mount Pleasant Hotel in Great Malvern said the personal health and safety of guests and staff is their top priority.

He said: "We were not sure what to expect once we reopened our doors but the response from the community has been overwhelming.

"We opened to a fully booked hotel on the 4th of July and all rooms were occupied by mainly tourists.

"Our restaurant, that has undergone a complete change in terms of seating, has been fully booked on all the weekends and bookings are pouring in every day.

"We have received positive feedback from our diners that they feel safe in the premises. I am invigorated and my team is very motivated for the future.

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"We want to continue to make memorable experiences for our guests and diners."

The tourism industry brings in millions to the Malvern economy every year, making hotels and bed and breakfasts some of the district’s most important business.

Kathy Leather, from Copper Beech House in Avenue Road said re-opening was a massive logistical challenge.

She said: "There are lots of little extras we usually put around the house for people like a jar of sweets or cotton buds or make-up pads, but we can’t put those out now.

"It is hard to get the balance right of being friendly and welcoming but at the same time maintaining a distance for the sake of people’s safety."

Mrs Leather said many areas of the business had been fundamentally changed by the coronavirus crisis, with breakfasts now having to be prepared separately rather than self serve.

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She added: "Normally we have big bowls of muesli and granola and fruit but now we obviously can’t do that - if we had every table full that is as many as 17 people."

Last week, the chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his plans to help bring the hospitality industry out of lockdown.

Key points include businesses which have furloughed staff being 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.

Under the Jobs Retention Bonus, firms will be paid £1,000 for each employee they bring back from furlough and continuously employ through to January on an average of at least £520 a month.