People of all ages have been pleased to be able to enjoy food and drink inside once again as the hospitality industry opens its doors.
Among those making the most of their first day of freedom were Ira and Marilyn Hornigold, from Minster, who enjoyed breakfast at the Belle and Lion Wetherspoons pub in Sheerness High Street.
Ira said: "I have been out standing in the cold for the past couple of weeks, but it's Marilyn's first outing today.
"I had to come out for my second Covid jab this morning so we thought we would get some breakfast – it was fantastic."
Marilyn added: "It's lovely being out. I am still very mindful that we're not out of this, but it's hopefully a step in the right direction."
Also in the pub were Eric Barnes, 73, and Peter De Moore, 75, enjoying a pint in the warm.
Eric said: "We have been out in all weathers. It's nice to be indoors now, as long as people obey the rules."
Down the road at Rumour, tables were filled both inside and out, and for owner Paul West, today's reopening had been a long time coming.
He said: "The shop without customers, as it's been for the past six or so months, is just not the same.
"The takeaway and delivery service has continued throughout, and that's great, but there has been no vibe or atmosphere here.
"Walking in this morning, it's just great to see all the faces and it's just what this place is all about. It's been a long time coming."
He added: "We are absolutely over the moon that we are open properly again. The team has worked so hard all weekend getting everything ready."
Customer Andy Thomas, was also taking advantage of the opportunity to dine inside.
The 35-year-old artist from Sheerness said: "Today is the first day I have come down here to get a bit of work done instead of sitting indoors.
"It's really nice to be out. It feels a lot more normal. It's nice to be back to normality and it's nice to see Rumour busy as well."
Patricia Dunk also had a bite to eat at Rumour with her daughter Rosie and her identical twin boys Ernie and Eden, 10 months.
She said: "It's amazing to be out. This is all I have wanted to do, sit here and have a cup of coffee without being freezing."
Sitting outside for their hot drinks and lunch were Paul Kite, 56, and Mark Young, 61.
Vicar Paul said: "I prefer to sit down and have a cup of coffee or cake inside in the warm and have a conversation in peace. I have really missed it and I'm really looking forward to it now.
Jessica Waghorn of Stones Coffee Shop in Halfway said staff had been long-awaiting today's reopening.
"It’s been a long seven months and seeing the inside of the coffee shop empty and silent has been so disheartening, even though we’ve had outside seating, it doesn’t give the same effect if the weather doesn’t turn out," she said.
"Watching people today enjoying long overdue catch-ups with friends and family has put a huge smile on all our faces, and we can’t wait to get on now and welcome people back in."
Owners of The Harps Inn in Minster also could not wait to welcome customers once again.
Lisa and Ben Haytread said: "We’re so happy to be almost back to normal and see so many familiar faces again. The indoor atmosphere of the pub is back again and it feels great."
Meanwhile, a new restaurant called '19' opened at Sheerness Golf Club this morning and welcomed customers for the first time ever.
Brother and sister Neil and Laura Moran, who run The Playa pub on Minster Leas, are behind the new venture and Alex Tindall, secretary of Sheerness Golf Club, said the club was excited about the new offering.
He added: "It's a step in the right direction for our ever forward moving and expanding club.
"People don’t have to be a member to enjoy the clubhouse facilities and a social membership, costing just £36 a year, will get them a 22.5% discount at the bar and 20% discount off food."
Over in Sittingbourne, Sara Seabridge, landlady at the Yellow Stock micropub in the High Street, had a full house and beer garden.
She said: “It’s been nice and steady. We’ve had our regulars back who have been waiting a long time for this, and also some new people come to visit us who haven’t been in, so it’s been really good.
“It’s a relief because it’s nice to see people inside."
Mary Marsh, customer assistant at Bailey’s coffee and sandwich shop, in Sittingbourne High Street, said: “It’s been really good to have our regulars back in and see some faces and bodies sitting down. It’s been a lot steadier since last month but it’s been really nice to have people back in.
“We are expecting it to get busier as the weeks go on and more and more people get the confidence to come in and sit down."
Shopper Sinead Bray said it was good to be able to escape the English weather in a café or restaurant.
The hairdresser said: "It’s not as busy as I expected today but I think the weather has played a part in that. It’s been on and off showers, so being able to hide from that in a coffee shop has been really nice. It feels like things are returning back to normality again but you can’t be certain with everything that has gone on in the past year-and-a-half!”
As well as the hospitality industry reopening, from today people are able to welcome loved ones back into their homes, with a limit of up to six people or two households.
In addition to pubs, restaurants and cafés, museums and cinemas across the country have also opened up, as have theatres and indoor sporting areas.
Meanwhile, people will be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people.