BUSINESSES reported a successful weekend as crowds flocked to Weymouth to take advantage of the warm weather.

Although pubs, restaurants and cafés have been open for more than a week now – along with the harbour pedestrianisation scheme – this was the first weekend which was sunny and warm.

Both the beach and quayside were busy thanks to the favourable weather.

Harbourside businesses were able to make the most of it by offering outside seating thanks to the pedestrianisation scheme.

It gave them the chance to try and make back some money that has been lost due to the coronavirus pandemic while also making it easier to socially distance.

Keith Rupp, manager of Custom House Café, said: "We are really up for it. It's the best thing this town has done for years.

"Businesses have been calling put for this for years along the harbourside. It should stay I think, it should be like this every year from April to September.

"We have had nobody inside really, everyone wants to sit outside in this weather so our outside seating has been full all week.

"It's good for the customers, it's good for us and it's good for the town. Plus it's so much easier to social distance outside than it is inside so at the moment it just makes sense."

Mike Allen, owner of Quayside Bar and Kitchen, said: "It has been very busy but we have been busy every day since we opened.

"With inside seating and social distancing rules we wouldn't have been able to open but the outside seating makes it so much easier to have that social distancing.

"People think this has meant we are able to make loads of money but we're not, it's just the same as always but the customers are sat outside instead.

"It has made a big difference [having outside seating], especially with the seafood festival being cancelled, this would be one of our biggest weekends of the year in terms of takings. Having the extra seats outside will enable us to make some of that money back.

"Business is booming, people are social distancing and supporting local businesses."

Chef Eric at Les Enfants Terribles said: "It's really good for us. I'm very small inside and we have put screens and all of this up so I can only run at 55 or 60 per cent capacity.

"It's excellent to have a lot of people coming back, however we are still in the phase where we have to be careful because, if you look at Leicester, we do not want a second spike here.

"It's lovely to see all these people but I strongly advise all businesses to take it seriously."

As previously reported, Dorset Council has implemented temporary road closures for a 12-week period at Custom House Quay, Trinity Road and Cove Street through to Hope Square.

The council put measures in place at Weymouth Harbour it said would enable businesses to re-open safely and encourage effective social distancing.

This was met with mixed reaction. While many supported the temporary pedestrianisation – which allows businesses to place tables on the street – others were angry and claimed there had been a lack of consultation.

It has been controversial because commercial charter boats and fishermen have claimed the loss of vehicle access will 'decimate' their livelihoods, and fear the changes will become permanent.

The council has made assurances that permanent pedestrianisation of the harbour area would require full public consultation, and said it was never its intention to introduce permanent pedestrianisation.

As a result of comments received on the measures around the harbour, some changes have been made including more signage which make it clearer which users have access into the affected areas.