TRADERS can "breathe a sigh of relief" in Malvern after the district was placed into tier two for coronavirus restrictions.

This means non-essential shops, salons, restaurants and pubs which serve meals can welcome back customers – but households won't be able to mix indoors unless they're in the same bubble.

The district, and all of Worcestershire, will be in the 'high alert' middle tier when the lockdown ends on December 2.

Roger Sutton, of business group High Street Malvern, welcomed the news, saying traders could “breathe a sigh of relief.”

Salon owners also said they were relieved to be able to re-open from Wednesday, December 2.

Lucy Watkins, who runs Belle Beauty in Malvern, said she was ready for one of the busiest times of the year.

She said: “Myself and the team at Belle Beauty are over the moon to be welcoming back our customers into the salon on Wednesday, December 2.

“December is our busiest month, as it is for all salons and retailers, so it’s a huge relief to be allowed to safely trade again.

“Christmas is so enjoyable at the salon as we make everyone feel and look great for the festive season.

“It will be a little different to previous Christmases with following the government guidelines to treat our customers safely in full PPE, but we will continue to go above and beyond to make everyone feel safe yet relaxed with us.”

Symone Wood, who runs Malvern Serenity, added: “I am so relieved we are open for Christmas. This really is thanks to every salon to sticking to strict guidelines and keeping clients safe.

“We are all just looking forward to getting back and trying to bring some joy to all of our clients.”

Amanda Smith, who runs Tiger Lou’s Nail Bar, said: “Although the second lockdown has been awful for us and many others in Malvern Link, we are staying positive and looking to the future.

“To inject a little bit of joy and Christmas spirit we have decorated our shop window in aid of Malvern Hill District Council children’s window trail and can’t wait to hear feedback on what our naughty elves are up to.

“As of the December 1, it is our 14th year of trading. Opening the salon on the 3rd will absolutely make Christmas for us.

“We are super excited to see our wonderful clients, old and new, and we hope people will join us to enjoy the festive season.”

In tier two, residents are not allowed to socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble indoors, whether at home or in a public place.

Groups meeting outside must not consist of more than six people, including in gardens or public spaces.

Businesses and venues can remain open in a covid-secure manner, but pubs and bars not operating as restaurants must close.

Hospitality businesses can only serve alcohol with “substantial meals”.

Pubs and restaurants serving food and drink must run on a table service-only basis and must close between 11pm and 5am.

Mr Sutton, of High Street Malvern business group, said: “Obviously, being in tier two is better than being in tier three, but not as good as tier one.

“The pubs without food and without restaurants will have to close, but those serving food can stay open for the lead-up to Christmas.

“Retailers can breathe a sigh of relief too that they can get back open in the run-up to Christmas, but it would be good to see things like free parking in the town or Sunday trading.”

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has urged people to get out safely to keep the local economy alive.

She said: “This year has been very difficult for so many local people and I want to thank them again for making tremendous sacrifices which have kept the incidence of the virus low in West Worcestershire.

“From December 2nd our wonderful local shops, restaurants and personal care businesses will reopen and most fitness activities will be allowed again.

“It could not be more important that people show their own support for local businesses by going out where allowed, in a Covid-safe way and help to keep our economy alive.

“Keeping the virus at bay remains essential but it is clear to me and many of my constituents, that we need to show our support for local businesses as we use local testing capacity and start to roll out the vaccines as quickly as possible.”