Cumbria’s economy is predicted to see a major boost when large parts of the hospitality and accommodation sector reopen this weekend.

Several local businesses as well as the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) are urging people in the region to do their bit and support the visitor economy after Boris Johnson’s announcement last Thursday.

The Prime Minister has given the all clear that from Saturday, July 4 hotels, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen.

Jo Lappin, chair of Cumbria’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERGG) within the county’s Local Enterprise Forum, and Nigel Wilkinson, chair of CLEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel, both gave a warm welcome to this turnaround.

Mrs Lappin, also chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), said: “The unique structure of Cumbria’s economy has meant that COVID-19 has seriously affected a number of businesses, particularly in the visitor economy.

“We’re urging people in Cumbria to do their bit to support the county’s economy through these very testing times by thinking, visiting and spending local.

“Cumbria has so much to offer and explore, including two World Heritage Sites, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, more Michelin star restaurants than anywhere north of London, and fantastic arts, culture and heritage offers, with a host of excellent businesses and organisations that really do need our support.

“What better way to mark the emergence from the tightest constraints of lockdown than by visiting attractions or booking a staycation right here in our glorious part of the world?”

Cumbria’s visitor economy, which accounts for 22 per cent of jobs and up to 33 per cent in major tourism locations – largely centred around the Lake District - has been particularly and severely hit by the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and ensuing lockdown.

Mrs Lappin added: “Operating profitably will be a major challenge for many of our businesses in the forthcoming year, particularly through the winter with limited summer trading to support the low season.

“The government support has been welcome but, for many, the long term outlook remains challenging to return to the point of significant investment in their product so we would strongly urge people to rally round and support our businesses wherever possible.”

Mr Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said: “The changes that the PM announced relating to July 4 are transformational for the whole of the sector.

“They are obviously hugely significant for our colleagues in the accommodation sector but the while of Cumbria’s visitor economy is inter-connected.

“Retail, food and beverage outlets and visitor attractions all need people to stay in the area to secure their viability.

“Throughout, the absolute priority of all businesses within the visitor economy is to operate in a Covid-secure manner with safety as our overall priority.”

The sentiment was echoed by Dan Visser, Director of Sales and Marketing with the Langdale Estate, which operates the Langdale Hotel and self-catering accommodation in Great Langdale.

He said: “We welcome the news that we can begin to welcome guests from July 4th and a significant amount of work is going on to make sure that the offering at Langdale is safe for visitors, colleagues and the local community.

“The whole guest journey, from arrival and check-in, with keys on their smartphone to ordering food and drink through an app to online check-out, has changed to put choice and safety at the heart of every step of the process.

“Keeping the team safe has been key to all the changes we have made. Offering a fantastic experience can only be delivered with a dedicated team so giving them a safe workplace has always been at the heart of everything we do.”

Stephen Macaulay, chair of Penrith's chamber of trade, feels reopening companies will have a "balancing act" as they will no longer receive government support.

He said: "I would like to think it will be good for local business, a lot of people have been waiting to get back to work.

"Some businesses will have to tread carefully at this stage as by reopening it will change what support they receive and if it doesn't go well that could have a negative impact. But as long as there is no local lockdown like in Leicester then I am hopeful it will be positive."

Eden council are running a webinar at 11am for local businesses.