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Signing in to enjoy food and drinks at the Somerset Grocer were friends Libby Smith and Willa Nicol, both 14.

New Alert Level 2 restrictions are in place and working at Ashburton eatery Somerset Grocer.

Like cafes around the country, the venue is following strict rules around customer numbers, hygiene and physical distancing.

Somerset Grocer owner Mark Milmine, who runs the popular cafe and bar with wife Nicky, said systems were in place and working.

Customers needed to sign in and returning customers could also scan in and out by using their mobile phone.

Staff seated customers and tables were arranged one metre apart, with orders taken at the tables.

The cabinet food menu was now displayed on a menu at the tables and all orders were printed out in the kitchen.

A screen had been set up around the payment till, he said.

“It’s great to have some sort of normality return to the grocer and we are grateful for the customer support.

“We’re looking forward now and not back.”

Mr Milmine said he encouraged the community to support local businesses whenever they could do so.

Takeaways, which started under level 3, are sold from the side door in the alleyway at Somerset Grocer.