Museums in west Dorset are taking a cautious approach to reopening, despite government guidance stating they could welcome back visitors next month.

Boris Johnson announced in the House of Commons yesterday that lockdown measures would be easing further, with museums among a number of businesses now able to open on July 4.

However, venues in west Dorset are taking a cautious approach to the news by holding off on reopening until a later date.

Emily Hicks, director of Bridport Museum, said: "We want to make absolutely sure that everybody feels really safe and people can still enjoy their visit.

"I'm sharing a survey and we want as many people as possible to fill it out to help us understand what people would like to see and we will make a decision based on that. We also want to make sure our volunteers are happy to come back first.

"It's very likely that our visitor experience will be similar to what people are experiencing in the shops. It depends on what the regulations are at the time.

"Funding and support is really important, every museum has really struggled for survival through this and they need help.

"I would ask people to really think about supporting their local museums, even by following them on social media and sharing their posts you are supporting them."

David Tucker, director of Lyme Regis Museum, said: "As of June 23rd, the position of Lyme Regis Museum is that we will re-open on September 8th.

"It’s difficult to safely social distance in our charming and quirky building. Our first duty is to protect the health of our visitors of whom many fall into vulnerable groups, as well as our marvellous volunteers and staff. Our decision is based on the specific circumstances under which we operate and the large numbers of people that flock to our beautiful town in the summer.

"From September 8th, entry to the museum will be through our online booking system on our website This will ensure our visitors get a top quality experience. We will of course ensure that visitors, volunteers and staff are protected by screens and by the use of hand sanitiser and PPE. We’ll have an up-graded cleaning routine.

"We are very much concentrating on the activities we can carry out. From July 4th we will be running socially distanced fossil walks, which can be booked through our website. We are also significantly increasing our digital presence with a series of short films presented by our experienced geologists. If people can’t safely visit the museum, we’ll use the web to take the museum to them."