A COUPLE who spent a year refurbishing their hotel before lockdown hit are hoping business will bounce back from July 4.

Rebecca Hall and Chris Layton run Galtres Lodge in Low Petergate, a 12-bedroom hotel and restaurant which they took over in October 2018.

Drawing on their backgrounds in hospitality and property, they redecorated several rooms and created a Yorkshire-influenced menu during 2019.

"From November, every month was 30 to 40 per cent up on sales," said Rebecca who had hoped business during 2020 would repay their efforts. "Then, in March, it stopped dramatically. Timing-wise it couldn't have been worse. We closed just before our very busy season."

Continuing the refurbishment, they have relocated the bar and created a reception area.

"We have been able to do a lot more decorating more quickly without having to be sensitive to running an open business," said Rebecca.

"We had a year of hard work and it was going really well. Sometimes it gets us down but we are hoping it will bounce back. I have done all my risk assessments over and above already."

Looking to the future, Rebecca said: "I have a few bookings in the first weekend of July 4 and 5 then more in on July 9 and 10."

During recent weeks, they have been operating a takeaway service to keep ticking over, taking orders and delivering food through a sash window.

"It works really well," said Rebecca, who is on the steering committee for Hospitality Association York (HAY) and a member of Indie York.

"We have a portable till and coffee machine just behind there. We can pass food and drinks out the window. We also have a click-and-collect for hot food. We cook everything fresh so we encourage people to and wander around and come back in ten minutes.

"Lots of people have been having a nosey around York and been happy to support local. It is not making us much money but it definitely made me feel much better about things."

Their takeaway menu includes burgers, fish and chips, pizzas, pies, ice creams and bakes.

The couple attracted attention for the hotel recently by parking their hand-painted pink, floral Mini outside, inviting people to support them by sharing their photos on social media.

"It was a sunny day and we thought it would be nice for people to hang around in our street. We have a sign in our window saying 'you don't have to spend money to support a local business; take a picture and share it or just buy a coffee and ice cream if you fancy'.

"And lots of people did. People came and had a chat and asked about our plans. It was a really nice York vibe."

The takeaway runs Friday-Saturday, 12pm-8pm; Sunday 10-6pm; Monday-Thursday, 12 - 3pm.