PUBS and other venues in Ledbury are looking forward to welcoming back guests next week.

From May 17 people in England will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30, and indoors in groups of six, or two households.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors, although they will be limited to table service.

Other recreational venues such as cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to reopen. although there will be capacity limits on large events.

One Ledbury pub to be re-opening is The Talbot.

On the pub's website, a spokesman said: "We are delighted to let you know we will be reopening on May 17. We are taking bookings now.

"We are very proud of our pub and of being the hub of our community.

"We’d like to thank you for your loyalty and support and we can't wait to see you soon.

"Just like before lockdown, when we reopen, we will have measures in place to keep you and our teams safe and we appreciate you adhering to the guidelines.

"We appreciate your help in adhering to our guidelines (which are in line with government policies) to ensure the safest and most enjoyable time for all our guests and our team.

"We really appreciate your support and loyalty. Stay safe and see you soon."

At the Oak Inn at Staplow, manager Chris Howell said he was excited to be welcoming back regulars once again, with the wet weather putting a damper on the period of outdoor dining.

He said: "After a hugely successful reopening outdoors with our fabulous new patio area and the launch of our wonderful new website , Team Oak are very much looking forward to reopening our indoor bars this Monday.

"The uncertainty is what percentage continue to dine outside compared to inside? Which makes it difficult to plan staff to anticipate the demand.

"We must continue to strive to meet our customer's expectations at all times and very confident our team can deliver."

Mr Howell revealed the pub has taken on new staff at a time when manyn businesses are having a tough time keeping people on.

He added: "We have already taken on two new front of house members and looking for more kitchen staff to meet the demand from our customer base.

"In addition we are launching a new menu on Monday with highlights including the return of our Chateaubriand platter and two new sharing platters.

"Plus a new BBQ meat pizza to add to our popular homemade authentic Italian range.

The reopening of the Oak's popular guest rooms is proving that staycations are very much the new norm.

"In addition our new interactive Facebook group 'I ♥️ Team Oak' is driving our business forward with our top customers helping us shape the future of our business with our motto 'Together we're stronger''.

"Finally, we're busy planning summer events featuring live music, cinema and theatre."

In addition to the return of indoor dining, up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings, although dancing will still not be allowed, and the cap on the number of mourners attending funerals will be lifted, in line with the safe capacity of the venue.

Secondary school pupils will no longer be told to wear face masks in class and communal areas, and university students will return to campus for in-person lectures.

The “stay in the UK” restriction will lift and people will be able to travel to “green list” countries without having to quarantine, provided they take one post-arrival test.