Hospitality in Bolton is finally allowed to welcome back customers today on another step of the lockdown easing road map.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are allowed to serve customers outside only, which many venues are taking full advantage of.

Unlike previous openings customers will not be required to order food with any drinks and the 10pm curfew has also been scrapped.

Not all pubs and bars across the borough have decided to reopen, with many deciding to wait until at least May 17, when customers can be seated back inside.

But some are hoping Bolton residents will come out in force to support their local again.

Cllr Sean Hornby, landlord of The Queens in Bradley Fold, said: “We’ve got the biggest beer garden for miles around but this all depends on the weather really.

“We’re just putting the final touches and final alterations to the garden, cleaning the tables and everything else.

"We’ve got more signs in the garden with rules on than I know what to do with.

“Being just outdoor and doing table service is not ideal but it will still be great to be back after nearly five months now.

“We’ll be welcoming back a lot of our regular customers, we’ve kept in touch with a lot of our locals who say they are looking forward to coming back no matter what the weather so it will be very nice to see them again.

“We have a lot of elderly customers who have been quite lonely over lockdown so will be good to talk to them again.

"“Getting our beer delivered over the weekend was really good and staff have been in at the weekend , with a few new faces so there is a very positive feeling going forward from Monday.”

Craig Egan, who runs the Nook and Cranny in Bromley Cross with friend James Martin, said times have been very tough and they are most looking forward to June, when social distancing restrictions are set to end.

An outdoor area was built during the first lockdown last year, as the pub didn’t have one previously, in preparation for restrictions only allowing outdoor service.

Now they have also put up a shelter over their seating in a bid to deal with whatever weather may come this week.

Craig said: “If we get dry weather it will be brilliant. A lot of other places in the area aren’t going to open but we just thought we just need to keep the business going and embrace what we’ve got.

“We just want to see people and our customers again, we are very much a community orientated place and really want to be out in the community again.

“We’re definitely not taking bookings or setting time limits as that takes away any sort of pub feeling when you have to rush people.

“The thing we want to do is make people as comfortable as possible, we’re even considering getting blankets for the cold weather.

“We want to do it the Nook and Cranny way of being there for people rain and shine, serving great beer.”

The Britannia Inn in Farnworth has also had an overhaul of its beer garden to accommodate more customers with rules only allowing service outside, which the owners hope will even attract new customers to the venue who might not have been before.

Landlady Anita Kirkman said: “We are all very excited even if slightly apprehensive about it all.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing all our customers again, it’s just the weather we’ve got to worry about.

“We’ve just revamped our garden area to fit more people in and hopefully attract those who might not have come to us before.

“There are more heaters and more shelter which should help us with these new rules of being outside. We’re really looking forward to it, there’s been a lot of interest on our social media pages but we are not taking bookings.

“We just want people to be able to come and be relaxed.

“We really hope people will be out in force on Monday to help their local pubs which have had such a difficult time.

“The next 10 weeks or so up to June 21 is really crucial for us.”

Successful pavement licences applications have been lodged by The Churchgate, Dragonfly on Bradshawgate, Northern Monkey, in Nelson Square, and Venue Bar in Bolton Town Centre, although not all will be opening from today. The Dragonfly will be opening for outdoor service today, and Northern Monkey will open on Friday.

However, Northern Monkey has announced that it will only be opening for weekends until May 17 when customers are allowed back inside, with restrictions.

Northern Monkey posted on Facebook: “We are just going to take each weekend as it comes.

"If it’s dry we’re open and will do our very best to accommodate you all, we don’t want to limit tables to set times and we also don’t feel it’s fair to have empty tables waiting for bookings that decide not to show up.

“The support we’ve had in the past 12 months has been fantastic."