Leeds Primark and Debenhams packed with shoppers and beer gardens rammed as people head into city centre and White Rose

It was a quiet start to the day in Leeds city centre, as shops and hospitality businesses reopened.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 5:21 pm

Shop workers were seen preparing to open their doors for the first time in months, putting up new window displays and in some cases taking down old Christmas decorations.

By 8am queues had started to form outside Zara, Debenhams and Size - with some people in the latter having queued since 4am to ensure they bagged some collection edition trainers.

More people headed into the centre as the morning progressed and by 10am, the queue into Debenhams, which is open for its final closing down sale, snaked around King Edwards Street.

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Queues outside Debenhams as shops reopen on April 12, 2021. (photo: Bruce Rollinson)

Some people had popped to the shops or for a coffee on their way into work, while others booked the day off to go shopping.

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Shaun Rosinsale, 60, from Armley said: “I have taken the day off to get my shopping done as I needed some clothes.

“I don’t like online shopping and prefer to see things in person.

Pubs and restaurants are full in Leeds as they reopen on April 12, 2021. (photo: Bruce Rollinson)

“I’m excited to see shops get back open and go somewhere that’s not the supermarket.

“I’m going to go for a coffee later.”

Tyler Wild, 20, is a student enjoying his day on Briggate with friends.

He said he went to the gym this morning which was ‘absolutely rammed’. “It feels like normality again, a bit of freedom.”

Ian De Whytell, 63, has co-owned mega popular Crash Records for 23 years. He said reopening today felt like “catching up with old friends”.

He said their morning had been brilliant, with everyone following rules and grabbing a physical record for the first time in months.

Ian said: "It is nice to be interacting with people again and everyone is enjoying it.

"People are keeping distant, we've had no problems.

"We have a lot of customers who feel like family and it feels like we are now welcoming them back, meeting and seeing old friends."

As the afternoon progressed, people began to head to the city’s beer gardens and roof terraces for a drink and bite to eat.

Popular outdoor drinking areas include Banyan, Restaurant Bar and Grill and Toast, while bars on Greek Street were also at capacity early on.

Speaking from Manahatta’s beer garden, university student Alex Chadwick, 20, said: "This is the first time we've been out in ages, it's great.

"It was one of those spur of the moment things, we haven't booked anywhere but we managed to get a table earlier."

“We won't be moving until we're told.

"I'm most looking forward to getting back to the gym in all honesty.

“We will probably wait for it to settle before coming back out again."

His friend Stefan Hughes, 21, added: "The weather has been amazing, we wouldn't have bothered if it was raining but you've got to come out when it's like this.

“The university experience has been really odd, we have missed doing normal things.

"Students have been pretty hard done by so it's great to be able to see each other again."