INDOOR hospitality venues have reopened – and Bridport business owners 'are absolutely over the moon' to be back.

Venues including pubs, restaurants, cafés and bars reopened for indoor dining on Monday as the country took its third step on the 'roadmap' out of lockdown. Hotels and B&Bs have also been able to open.

Bridport business owners were able to throw open their doors and welcome customers inside for the first time since the country was plunged into the third national lockdown in January – and the town has been 'buzzing'.

Many hospitality venues were able to reopen on April 12 to serve customers outdoors, however, some businesses without any outside space were forced to stay closed until this week.

Beach and Barnicott, on South Street, was unable to open last month due to a lack of outdoor space so owners were thrilled to finally get back to work.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Beach and Barnicott has welcomed customers for indoor dining Picture: Chanie RavenscroftBeach and Barnicott has welcomed customers for indoor dining Picture: Chanie Ravenscroft

Chanie Ravenscroft, joint owner, said: "It has been so lovely to reopen and see people coming in to eat and drink. It's so nice to see the whole of Bridport buzzing again.

"The customers have all been lovely and there is such a sense of community. It has been such a crazy year but we are all in this together."

The Pursuit of Hoppiness, on West Street, reopened on April 12 with outdoor seating, but the unreliable weather has proved a challenge for staff.

Duty manager Alfie Shillingford said: "Trading outdoors only was tough because there would be days when we would be open and have tables out but then it started to rain so we had to close.

"It is such a relief knowing we can trade whatever the weather now that we have reopened indoors and it has been great so see some of our regulars return."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Alfie, left, and Chris from the Pursuit of Hoppiness Picture: Pursuit of HoppinessAlfie, left, and Chris from the Pursuit of Hoppiness Picture: Pursuit of Hoppiness

Monday proved to be a busy day for some venues in the town as residents and visitors made the most of the eased restrictions.

Billy Bayliss, manager of The Market House Inn, on West Street, was blown away with the 'incredible' number of customers through the doors.

He said: "We did at least 50 lunches and 40 evening meals and for a Monday that is incredible. People just seemed to excited to be out. It has been great."

Sian Thompson, general manager of The Bull Hotel on East Street, is preparing for her busiest summer ever.

She said: "The hotel is pretty chock-a-block now - I don't think we have ever known occupancy be booked up so far in advance. We are booked up from this weekend through until September.

"We've just got to keep everything crossed that everyone plays by the rules and we don't go into another lockdown.

"We are absolutely over the moon to be back."

n The area's pubs got a much-needed spending boost on Monday, new figures suggest, as thirsty customers were allowed indoors.

Banking firm Revolut analysed the data of its 4,000 customers in West Dorset on Monday, comparing it to the average spend for a Monday in February last yearn.

West Dorset drinkers spent more than twice as much on average on Monday than normal, according to the data – knocking back around 122 pints per minute at their peak. The biggest spenders in the area were 18-24 year-old men.

West Dorset customers also splurged more per round than others across the country – spending £15.15 per transaction, compared to the average of £12.86 across Britain.