PUBS and restaurants are due to reopen this weekend and while business owners and employees prepare to go back to work, the general public in Bridport are not sure if they will be wining and dining out any time soon.

The Government has given pubs and restaurants, along with hotels, B&Bs and hair salons permission to open on July 4 in an easing of the strict lockdown rules that have been in place since March 23. The reaction from people in Bridport has been mixed with some excited to get back to eating and drinking out, and others concerned about the safety of gatherings.

Caitlin Waren, 21, works in a pub in Bridport. She said: "I am not particularly excited for pubs to be back up and running. I will be back to work on Saturday which I am pleased about but I think that as soon as people have a couple of pints in them social distancing will stop.

"It will be nice for people to be able to get out more and enjoy themselves but people need to be respectful. I'm not too worried about the locals as I think they will be more careful but I'm worried that holiday makers won't care and won't make the effort to be sensible."

Tom Murphy, 34, an AGA engineer, said: "I don't think opening pubs is going to work. People getting drunk brings out rowdiness and will be really noisy. I do think restaurants are different though. I would definitely go to a restaurant when they open and I am looking forward to it."

Beth Thomas, 24, a kitchen manager, said: "I think that pubs and restaurants reopening will do a lot of good for the economy but I don't want people to overwhelm the bar staff. They are not experts in disease control and they are being expected to manage crowds of people. I think that people think they can go out in big groups which won't be good.

"I will not be going out. I think restaurants will be as busy and unsafe as pubs so I won't be going to them either. I suppose I will in a couple of weeks after I've seen how the reopening has gone and I know it is safe."

Barnaby Petty, 45, is a business owner who splits his time between Oxford and Lanzarote. He is visiting Bridport for the next couple of weeks. He said, "It is a good thing that hospitality is opening up. The stresses of being locked inside and the impact of the lockdown on everyone's mental health is yet to be understood but it cannot be good for us.

"However, by going back out we don't know what the impact on our physical health will be. It all depends on how it is managed. In Spain the rules on being outside and going into shops are much more strict but here there seems to be a more laissez-faire approach. I will selectively go to pubs and restaurants, depending on how they are managed. If it is busy I won't go in."