BUSINESSES will be able to get on the path to normality with the latest easing of lockdown measures which will see west Dorset opening up again.

The Government is pressing ahead to allow mixing indoors and physical contact in England from today – despite warnings from scientists and medics about the Indian coronavirus variant.

Under stage three of the roadmap, pubs and restaurants can open for indoor serving, indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children's play areas can open, as well as hotels and B&Bs.

Businesses told the News last week they couldn't wait to reopen.

Many of the businesses have been closed since the end of December - with venues able to open only in a limited capacity.

As reported, Bridport's Electric Palace won't be opening until the end of the summer. 

The Plaza and Odeon cinemas in Dorchester will reopen today but Cineworld - which has a cinema complex in Weymouth - says it won't be opening until Wednesday.

Travel to a handful of approved countries – including Portugal – without having to quarantine, will be permitted.

Pub and restaurant bosses have said that welcoming customers back into venues across the country will help the sector "back on to the path to normality".

From today, pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to serve customers inside for the first time in at least four months. Groups of six or two households will be able to enjoy meals and drinks inside venues.

However, industry bosses have stressed that there are still challenges ahead as restrictions, such as table service and social distancing, continue to hinder profitability.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday it was "appropriate" to push on with the major easing of lockdown in England.

He said new evidence gives a "high degree of confidence" that coronavirus vaccines work against the Indian variant, but did not rule out a return to local lockdowns to stem resurgences.

Mr Hancock added that there were now more than 1,300 cases of the so-called Indian variant in total and it is becoming "the dominant strain" in areas including Bolton and Blackburn.