THE OWNERS of a popular ice cream parlour were preparing for another busy summer serving ice cold refreshments to streams of visitors.

But the Government-enforced closure of all cafes, bars and restaurants in March, among other widespread business closures, has meant independent business owners have had to reassess their plans for the year ahead.

Molly Moo’s Ice Cream Parlour on St Mary’s Chare, Hexham, was one independent business which endured weeks of closure.

Proprietor Jennie Wright said the business, which she relaunched at a new location last winter after taking over from her friend, Lorraine Whitfield, had endured a challenging time. Staff opened the cafe for three days a week in May as part of a phased reopening of the business.

“It was really busy but not too busy where there were big queues,” Jennie said.

“It was important to reopen,” she added.

“I can’t see us doing well in the winter so we really need to be making as much money now.”

Molly Moo’s offers hot and cold sandwiches, paninis, hot dogs, soup, milkshakes and smoothies, waffles and pancakes.

It even hosts birthday parties where children can make their own sundaes.

The cafe was forced to adapt to new trading methods to ensure the full safety of staff and customers.

“We’ve had to make changes,” said Jennie.

“We offer hot snacks as well as ice creams, and we wanted to provide food for people who needed it.

“Instead of welcoming customers to sit in, we’re operating from a table at the door.

“Everyone has been very understanding.

“They have respected the restrictions and social distancing measures outside the premises have worked well.”

The cafe has established itself as a popular venue throughout the town centre for its array of ice creams and refreshments since first opening in 2016.

But the business suffered significant financial losses during the months of April and May, which experienced record levels of sunshine, a time when demand for ice cream would have been high.

Jennie explained: “I have not been able to gauge the impact the lockdown has had on our finances so far.

“If I was not a seasonal business, the Government’s help will have seen us through.

“But now is the time when we should be taking our income to cover for the winter months.

“It is unclear but any financial impact is more likely to hit us in the winter.”