THERE were plenty of toasts to celebrate yesterday as people across the Bradford district flocked to their locals to mark the reopening of pubs.

As part of Stage Two of the roadmap out of lockdown which came into force yesterday, pubs, cafes and restaurants were able to reopen for customers after more than three months.

With table service only and punters only able to sit outdoors, many braved the chilly conditions to be the first to their favourite pubs yesterday morning.

At the Turls Green JD Wetherspoons pub in City Park in Bradford city centre, customers were quick to bag a seat just before it opened its doors at 9am, and were quick to get their orders in.

A group of students were among the first to Turls Green, ordering full English breakfasts and pints of cider to welcome the return of pubs.

The group said “words cannot comprehend” how much they had missed the pub, describing it as a “students’ paradise”, and all agreed it was worth getting there early.

Indeed, by 11am people were queuing for tables at the City Park pub, such was the demand for its cheap food and drink.

Elsewhere in the city centre, the Lord Clyde in Thornton Road welcomed its first customers to its beer garden shortly after 11am, and Jacob’s Well reopened for customers at midday.

Around the district, Q Gardens in Odsal saw its regulars return for the midday rush, while at the Halfway House in Wyke and The Alexandra in Idle, customers were welcomed back with open arms.

Linda Brannigan, who runs the Halfway House with Margaret Bagshaw, said it was exciting to be open again and that in the late afternoon and evening the pub was “buzzing”.

She said it was lovely to see the regulars back and the reaction had been “brilliant”. There’s hope that as the week goes on, the momentum will continue.

“Obviously people have got to work, it’s a Monday, maybe come the weekend things will pick up,” she said.

“People want to go to pubs to see friends, they want to have a laugh, they don’t want to go and be told ‘you can’t do this and you can’t do that’.”

Luke Kerrins, 27, Anthony Bannon, 38 and June Bannon, 38, were enjoying a drink in the afternoon sun and welcomed a “bit of normality” back in their lives and said it had been something to look forward to.

At the Alexandra in Idle, pubgoers enjoyed the April sun and flocked to its large beer garden to support their local.

Bev Clarkson, landlady at The Alexandra, said: “It was very busy and steady since we opened at 12 o’clock. The good weather certainly helped.

“Everybody’s been following the guidelines. We have the Track and Trace app on the picnic tables and have been manually taking details of people who don’t have the app. So far, so good.”

“It’s great to be free again,” said customer Stephen Hartley, who was out with his friends Tom Dibb, Mark Baraniak and another friend.

“It brings a bit of normality back in life. It’s felt like we’ve been under house arrest.”

Stuart Malcolm, who was also out with his friend at The Alexandra, added: “It’s the first beer I’ve had in ages.”

His friend said: “Everybody’s out enjoying themselves. This is what people have been waiting for.

“It’s better than sitting at home and watching the Dickinson’s Real Deal.”

Over at the Woodman in Manchester Road, customers had to be turned away as its beer garden filled up in a matter of minutes

Simon Barber, who runs the pub with Liam Dickens, said: “We are over the moon to reopen.

“We’ve got 120 capacity and by half past 12 we were full.

“The community has come together. There’s that many new people that we don’t know - it’s fantastic.”

It has been a busy week for the pair, who have been counting down the days until reopening day and making sure they have been prepared.

As well as increasing stock and capacity and introducing new lines, they’ve also introduced a pizza van which will be open at the pub every evening.

It wasn’t just pubs back open and happy to see customers yesterday, cafes and restaurants could also welcome people back after months of either being shut completely or only running takeaway service.

Shoppers enjoyed a sit down while having a coffee at Caffé Nero in the city centre, with Northgate Bistro in the Oastler Centre and Smorgasbord in Rawson Place also busy with customers having a tea or coffee in the Spring sunshine.

Restaurants around the city were also getting ready to make the most of their outdoor space, with Zizzi, Nando’s and German Doner Kebab among the eateries open for customers.

Emma Franklin, manager at Zizzi, said while they had been kept busy with takeaway orders through lockdown, it would “nice to have customers back in and to talk to people again,” and they were “happy to be back open”.

The majority of hospitality venues are operating a table booking system to avoid queues and to ensure numbers remain at or below the safe capacity, but some are open with tables free on a first come, first served basis.

Many pubs, cafes and restaurants however have had to remain closed despite the easing of lockdown rules, due to not having outdoor facilities or their available outdoor space being too small to make reopening financially viable.

Many of these venues will be waiting until May17, when indoor service can resume, with some being forced to wait even longer - until June 21 when all Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing rules will be dropped.