April 12 saw the reopening of outdoor areas at pubs, bars and restaurants, and many people were keen to book up for their first outings in months.
Mark Knowles, 47, owner of Bar 42 in Marine Parade, Worthing has loved having everyone back.
He said: “It’s so good to see everybody back. We’ve got a lot of regulars which creates the community atmosphere we have here.”
Reflecting on the first few days of the reopening week, Mr Knowles said: “It’s been really busy. We’ve been at full capacity on our patio for most of it, even in the daytime.
“Even though it’s been so cold, and we are all just sitting there freezing in our winter coats. It’s been good, everyone is happy to be back out.”
Lockdown has hit the leisure industry hard but Mr Knowles said welcoming people back into his bar felt ‘amazing’.
“It’s been a weird six months,” he added. “But it has also gone so quickly as we’ve been sitting around doing nothing, but then you realise you haven’t seen anyone for those six months.
“It’s nice to see people coming back into Bar 42 and finally seeing people they recognise. The atmosphere has been amazing, and it’s been really fun.”
The first weekend post-reopening was set to be a busy one. Mr Knowles said: “We are expecting to be busy. I’m opening soon for tonight and we are expecting people in straight away.
We are hoping for a busy weekend which is great. I think it might calm down a little bit next week, but it’s just nice to be open and for people to know we are available.”
Sophie Turnbull, 26, manager at The Cow Shed, also in Marine Parade, had also had a busy start to the week.
“It’s been really good actually,” she said. “We’ve been pretty much full for the majority of our opening hours.
“It feels great to have the busy, bustling Worthing seafront back. It is just lovely. It has been horrendous being closed for so long but seeing everyone has been great and everyone seems so happy to be back out again.
“We are definitely looking forward to the weekend. The weekdays are lovely, we get a lot of families coming in at the moment, but the weekend is a different atmosphere. It’s just a lot of fun.”