EXCITED bosses say their venues have had a lockdown makeover to welcome back punters, as restrictions lift further next week.

In an announcement on Monday, Boris Johnson confirmed plans to relax strict lockdown rules in England would go ahead from May 17.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve indoors. Cinemas and theatres can open up and hotels and B&Bs can welcome back guests.

Adam Hussain, owner of Basil Spice on Cranes Farm, Basildon, said the restaurant has undergone a refurbishment in the last few months.

He said: “I’m excited but I’m nervous. It’s been a long time.

“All of my staff are excited and they’re looking forward to coming back into work.

“Throughout lockdown we’ve managed to get new wallpaper and chandeliers ready for when we re-open.

“All of my kitchen staff have had the Covid vaccine.

“We’re looking forward to having everyone back in.”

Bertie Makolli, owner of Ilfracombe Hotel, has also made changes.

Echo: Bertie Makolli and his wife Drita Bertie Makolli and his wife Drita

He said: “It’s great we have so many bookings coming through. It’s very exciting to see the book full up again.

“We did some changes to the hotel by upgrading a few things.

“Hopefully this is the last time we have a lockdown. We don’t want hospitality to close again.”

Mecca Bingo in Southend has announced it will open on May 17 while Cineworld in Basildon will open on May 19.

Matt Chambers, centre manager at Festival Leisure Park said: “It has been a difficult lockdown and we are pleased to be able to once again provide a full range of fun experiences.”

Thundersley resident Dean Shamshoum said he can’t wait to take his wife for a meal at a restaurant. He said: “I’m very excited it’s positive news all round. It’s great to see businesses opening again and making a living.”