A CAFE which has been run by the same family for 24 years is welcoming back guests from Monday.

The team at Baileys Cafe and Tea Rooms in Museum Street has been carefully preparing for the relaunch to ensure it is safe and comfortable for their customers.

Owners John and Carol Sammons opened the business almost quarter of a century ago, attracting a dedicated team, several of whom have worked with them since those early days.

They have also won a loyal following, with customers asking in recent weeks when they would be reopening.

“We just wanted to be sure and get everything ready,” said the couple’s daughter Katie Sammons, who has been working at the cafe for the past five years.

“When we first found out we were going to shut it was emotional. We didn’t know whether we would open the doors again. It was so uncertain.

"Then we relaxed into lockdown because we had to and everyone got on with it. The hardest part has been the transition.

"There’s so much new information and rules, it has been quite stressful getting it up to the standard we feel is safe for the customer to come in.”

But after all the hard work, she said: “We are now really looking forward to getting back up and running. We love it.”

The Press Love Local Business campaign is promoting independent businesses as they reopen and encouraging readers to lend their support by spending their money locally.

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Baileys closed completely during the lockdown with all staff furloughed.

“We are bringing everyone back and will try and spread the hours between everybody but we will still need the furlough to help us get through the first few months depending on how busy we are,” said Katie.

“We are a bit nervous but the staff have been fantastic. Some of our staff have worked for us nearly 20 yeas.

“One member had her 20th anniversary this year; others are coming close and have trained up to be chefs and managers. It feels like a family. We have missed each other massively.”

Highlighting the safety measures, she said the number of tables had been reduced to create more space.

“We have about half the covers we had before, and we have the distance in place so people can sit comfortably without feeling they are on top of each other and there’s space between the tables to get through.

“We have hand sanitisers around, and we have minimal staff in to reduce staff contact with each other, and we will be wearing visors. We prefer the visors so people can see us smile.

“We have a lot of elderly customers and surprisingly, while we have been cleaning over the last couple of weeks, a lot of regulars have been coming to ask when we were opening. That’s been really encouraging.”

Baileys will initially open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 3pm, and Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

It is offering a full menu, with home made dishes such as beef and ale pie, lasagne, a full English and Sunday roasts.

*Share your business story for our Love Local Business campaign by emailing Business Editor Nadia Jefferson-Brown at nadia.jeffersonbrown@thepress.co.uk