The village of Kesh is slowly getting back on its feet as lockdown regulations continue to ease, with many local businesses seeing a gradual increase in trade and holidaymakers from across the country flocking to the area, choosing a staycation by the lake over holidays abroad this year.

Since reopening a couple of weeks ago, the Mayfly bar and restaurant has been very busy.

“Our restaurant has been fully booked every night,” shared proprietor Kerry Jennings. “But we do notice that we don’t have the quantity of locals that we normally have. We have a lot of holidaymakers and anybody that I’m talking to is saying that given the restrictions that everybody is now holidaying in Fermanagh or in Northern Ireland as such. We’ve no foreigners or anything, it’s literally just people from Northern Ireland that’s holidaying in Fermanagh,” she added.

Noting that things are now “a wee bit different” for the Mayfly following the coronavirus lockdown due to social distancing measures they have had to implement, Kerry noted: “We’ve had to remove bar stools and space out the tables more but we’ve been very happy the way things have gone. It’s been very very busy, we can’t complain at all.”

Karen Monaghan, owner of hairdressing salon Karen’s Kutz is delighted to be back at work.

“I missed everybody so much,” shared Karen, adding: “It’s been very busy doing a three month backlog obviously. It’s long hours because I can do less clients but I’m willing to work at it to accommodate everybody whose done without an appointment.”

Post-lockdown Karen hopes things can get back to some kind of normality for everybody: “I would have a lot of wee clients that have no families or relations near them and their weekly outings could be to the hairdressers and to the local shop or to the Mayfly for lunch. They missed that over lockdown when they couldn’t get out and we were the only people they’d see all week so it was like their wee weekly trip to get out once a week.”

“It’s lovely to see them be able to come in, to get back some kind of normality for them,” said Karen.

During lockdown, Ivan Thompson, owner of Lakeland Cars NI Ltd adapted his business to continue trading. He explained: “We found customers coming from far away, with the lockdown they couldn’t travel. We have a lot cross-Border customers who were turned away at the Border. We’d have a lot of customers from England, Scotland, Wales, again which couldn’t travel. Due to technological advances, Whatsapp, video, we sold an awful lot of cars through video link through sending customers videos of cars.”

“They could basically purchase a vehicle without seeing it,” he added.

Ivan is also the owner of Riverside Retail Park. He noted that all the businesses who have retail units in the park are now back at work after being closed for months. “All the retail unit businesses, they’re all back in action, thankfully. All back to normal,” he shared.

As some businesses have seen a rise in trade following the ease of regulations, others have stalled.

Garry Jennings, owner of Jennings Fuels explained that post-lockdown the oil trade has taken a down turn.

“It’s been quite strange, the orders have quietened off considerably now with the lockdown being lifted and people being able to get out and about. Oil was cheap there when lockdown was on, a lot of people were buying oil. They’re not worried about heating their homes now that they’re out and about more often, so it’s going to be a long long summer for us I think,” said Garry.

Loane Transport was another business that was able to keep going over lockdown.

“We’re not doing too bad,” said Brian Loane of Loane Transport when asked how business has been since lockdown regulations began to ease.

“We never actually were able to close, we had to keep going but it’s picking up again thankfully,” he added.

Local supermarket Loane’s Costcutter was very busy throughout lockdown. Owner Darran Lunny said: “Business has been good for us in Kesh. The Loanes of the hardware, builders yard, the farmyard and the shops, they’ve all stayed open and been very busy. People have stayed local too which has been very good.

“I hope that Kesh keeps thriving because it’s a busy holiday place, and the holidaymakers seem to be back which is good,” Darran said.