AFTER three long months, hospitality businesses across Dorset are preparing to reopen and welcome back customers.

Pubs, bars and restaurants have been closed while the nation sat in lockdown as coronavirus cases surged.

However, with cases now relatively low, hospitality businesses can be reopen outdoors, with no curfew or substantial meal rules in place.

And business bosses said there was a “buzz” around the place.

Bournemouth Echo:

Mark Cribb, founder of Urban Guild which runs Urban Reef, Urban Beach and Urban Garden, said: “All three will open, Garden in the town centre has got really large terraces.

“In Reef we have refurbished the ground floor, we have given it a lot of love and we have space outside.

“Same with the hotel, we’ve done a refurb. All will open as of Monday lunchtime and we’re raring to go.

“We will be relatively stuck only being able to open outdoors, I don’t agree with the policy of only opening outside if you are going to open retail.

“But what’s the point in whinging? Let’s be excited, we are going to have a good summer.

“I think people have got plenty of demand, I think there is a lot of people thirsty for a pint.

“The teams are excited to get back to work, it will be a real festival vibe.

“Operationally it is quite challenging to run a restaurant outside, come May 17 when we can open fully, that is when we can come into our own.

“It has been pretty weird, I have been doing this for 16 years, they have never been closed, it has been said seeing them getting covered in dust for so many months.

“There’s a real busy environment here, it has got a real buzz.

“Thanks to the public for their support, we have had so many positive messages.

“My biggest message would be think about where you spend your money.

“Every penny in a local business, not just mine, where the money is going to local suppliers would help.

“We are all part of the local community, we are all in it together.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Andy Lennox, chair of hospitality group The Wonky Table said: “We are ready, obviously only 50 per cent of hospitality businesses are opening and they are opening at 30 per cent capacity.

“All of it depends on the weather. Some of us have under cover areas, generally if the weather’s not good it is not going to be good.

“It is all about getting open, that start, we’re hoping the government doesn’t put more restrictions in.

“We are doing exactly what we were doing before. We’re fully Covid safe, everyone wearing masks, we have always been safe as an industry, it has always been a common misconception.

“We are all going to be trading at a loss until May anyway, but we are going to crack on and do our best.

“It will be a very friendly environment, everybody is really looking forward to it, it’s been a very long year for us.”

Gyms are also preparing to open after months of closure.

The contract manager of Everyone Active, which runs Poole (Dolphin) Leisure Centre, Ashdown Leisure Centre and Rossmore Leisure Centre, said he was looking forward to welcoming people back.

Rob Slocombe said: “We’re very much looking forward to reopening our centres and welcoming back the local community.

“After being closed for three months, the latest step in the government’s roadmap is a positive move forward for the leisure industry and gives people of all ages the opportunity to resume activity and exercise in their leisure centre.

“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe continues to be our number one priority and we have carefully considered the strict measurements to ensure we adhere to the guidance.

“We will be contacting all customers directly over the coming days regarding the centres reopening. We look forward to welcoming everyone back and thank them for their patience.”