Andover businesses have hailed the introduction of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, calling it “brilliant”, but have expressed concern about public awareness of it.

Kelly Jones, of Canto Gelato, was particularly effusive. “It’s been manic!” she said. “Yesterday (Monday 3) was one of our busiest days since we opened in December. So far, so good!”

Charlie Stradling, manager at Boswell’s Café, was similarly enthusiastic. “The amount of customers has picked up massively because of the scheme,” he said. “It’s improving footfall.”

Other venues have been slightly less enthusiastic in their praise, but are hopeful for the future.

“There wasn’t much difference on the first day,” says Ersin, who works at The Blue Onion. “It’s busier today though, so if it keeps doing that every day, it’s good for now.”

Emre, at Jenny’s in the Chantry Centre, was also mixed on the new scheme. “I’ve not really seen more customers,” he said. “Maybe people don’t know about it this week, so hopefully there will be more in the next one.”

All the businesses who spoke to the Advertiser noted that a lot of customers were surprised about the discount when they were told. “It’s surprising how many people didn’t know about it,” said Kelly. “A lot of people are really pleased with it when they find out, it’s a great idea.”

Since August 3, and until the end of August, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme allows diners to have 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10, if you eat or drink in a participating establishment on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. It can be used alongside other discounts, and there is no limit on how many times it can be used.

A full list of participating venues in Andover can be found here