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‘It’s great to be back’ – Delight for Tyrone hospitality businesses as doors open for first time since Christmas

Staff at the Glenavon Hotel in Cookstown are back and “raring to go”, with all 62 bedrooms booked out on the first day of reopening today.

The hotel is one of many hospitality businesses in Mid Ulster getting back to normal after months of lockdown.

Speaking to Tyrone I, a spokesperson for the hotel said it had been closed almost completely since December 24, remaining open for key workers only.

However, all bedrooms are reserved for tonight (Monday), mainly by business people, and the restaurant is also fully booked for Saturday night.

“Our tables in the restaurant are already well-spaced and we have glass screen partitions as part of the decor so we are very lucky in that we didn’t have to make many changes,” she said.

“The leisure centre – Club Riviera – is flat out as well although we are operating a booking system.

“All the staff are delighted to be back and welcoming people back again.”

At the Square Bar in Dungannon, doors opened at lunchtime after being closed since October.

The bar has capacity for 48 people and there were some early customers, with staff expecting more later on in the day.

“It’s been a long time. It’s great to get back again,” a staff member said.

Meanwhile, there is good news for families and leisure lovers as activities get back in the swing again.

Group exercise, and family and group swimming has resumed at Mid Ulster District Council’s leisure centres, including those in Cookstown and Dungannon.

And the council’s soft play areas are also open again for the first time since March 2020.

A timetable of group exercise classes is in place across the centres.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan welcomed the re-opening.

He said new arrangements have been put in place to ensure the highest standards of health and safety.

“As with all other facilities, though our warm welcome will not have changed, we’re asking users to expect a slightly different experience when they come back, and even more importantly for the users of these facilities, to abide by the rules that are in place for both their own and others safety and enjoyment,” he said.

“It’s fantastic timing coming up to the school holidays to be able to reintroduce soft play facilities and we look forward to helping celebrate all those special occasions like birthdays and family days out once again.”

All classes, swim sessions and soft play sessions are bookable through the council’s leisure hub, available online at , or by phoning your local leisure centre.

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