THERE was good news today for riverside businesses in York who are hoping they can reopen on Saturday without being hit by another 'lockdown' due to flooding.

The Environment Agency, which yesterday forecast that river levels could rise as high as 3.5 metres above normal summer levels, said this morning that the river was now peaking at 2.7 metres and would start to fall during the day.

The flooding has left outdoor dining areas on Kings Staith under water this morning, along with footpaths such as New Walk, but pubs and cafes have escaped being inundated, when at one stage yesterday they appeared under threat.

The agency had said yesterday that its flood alert, issued after heavy rain in the Yorkshire Dales catchment over the weekend, was subject to changes.

The Foss Barrier was put in place yesterday to protect properties alongside the River Foss.

The alert did not come at a good time for businesses hoping to reopen their doors on Saturday after having already been hit twice by a lockdown this year - first because of the severe flooding in February and then by the coronavirus pandemic.

Leann Williams, co-owner of Plonkers Wine Bar in Cumberland Street, just off Kings Staith, said she was hoping the floodwaters would recede and she would be able to have tables out on the cobbled area near the river as well as opening up inside the bar, "but to be honest it’s a bonus just to be able to open indoors".

Jan Dyl, owner of Dyls cafe, next to Skeldergate Bridge, said he had been shut by the floods for weeks earlier this year and had only been open again for a week following a big clear-up operation when he had been forced to shut again by the Covid lockdown.

He said he had been operating a very successful takeaway operation recently - which he intended to continue at the weekend rather than immediately reopening the cafe - and the last thing he needed was more floods.

He said he might have to move the outdoor bar and some furniture to safety after receiving a flood warning yesterday but hoped it would only be a temporary measure.

Another business which will be hoping the waters will recede by the weekend is City Cruises York, which is due to relaunch its cruises along the Ouse on Saturday but which cannot operate when the river is in flood.

York Rescue Boat tweeted that the vast majority of York will remain open throughout, adding: “Businesses within York are just beginning their journey to recovery after the Covid lockdown, please support them.

"York is definitely 'Open for business’."

Forecasters had good news today for the businesses - and for residents dismayed by the dismal weather of recent days following a warm and sunny spring and early summer.

While this week may see some more cloudy weather and showers, and some more prolonged rain on Friday, the sunshine is set to return on Sunday, with next week looking set for a full return to summer.