BUSINESSES and shops across Ryedale are preparing to reopen to customers following the Government's latest lifting of lockdown restrictions.

On Monday, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed April 12 will see the next step along the road map, with shops, pub beer gardens, and hairdressers among premises allowed to reopen.

James McMillan from McMillans of Malton, said it was important people supported local businesses and shops.

“After a tough year I think it’s really important to get out and support local. After all if you don’t, you’ll lose them. We’ve been fortunate enough to do a bit online but others haven’t and they really need the support now more than ever," he said.

"It’s great to have the chance to get back open. We’re really looking forward to seeing faces we’ve not seen for over a year and also hopefully some new ones. We are are so lucky to have such a wide range of independent businesses, all of which I’m so proud of for sticking in there, and it would be a shame to lose any of them after working so hard to stay in the fight. So please, next time you think “Oo I’ll just order that online” go out, have a look at what your beautiful town and area has to offer and give a small business owner something to smile about."

Liz Kemps, owner of Kemps General Store and Bookshop, in Market Place, Malton said: "We are so thrilled and relieved. It's been a challenging 12 months for us like many businesses but now, hopefully with care and safeguards we are looking forward to welcoming our customers back. Hopefully hospitality will follow next month and Malton get get back to offering it's full range of fantastic places to eat,drink and shop. We will need people to continue to choose to shop and support local but all the signs are good that they will."