IT is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Weymouth town centre - after shops reopened their doors following a month-long national lockdown.

Masked shoppers wasted no time getting back into the swing of things, as they flocked to the High Street and queued - with social distancing measures in place - to get back into stores.

Dorset Echo: A long queue of shoppers patiently waited to get into Card FactoryA long queue of shoppers patiently waited to get into Card Factory

Shopkeepers are delighted to be back to business as usual, although some noted there has been confusion among customers about the official reopening date.

When stores reopened yesterday morning, Bethany Aston, manager of Chalbury Food and Wine, said: "People had been commenting online that shops would reopen on Thursday although we had quite a few customers when we opened.

"It's all been a little bit strange but very good to be back open."

Dorset Echo: Bethany Aston, manager of Chalbury Food and WineBethany Aston, manager of Chalbury Food and Wine

That sentiment was echoed by Graham Bentley of La Luna, St Mary Street, who said the store was busy within 20 minutes of reopening yesterday.

"I'm quite confident in the support for local shops - I'm just happy there's no more lockdown," he said.

Dorset Echo: Graham Bentley at La LunaGraham Bentley at La Luna

In St Thomas Street, Fiona Penny of Sunflowers, said: "We've kept very busy with orders during lockdown. The telephone hasn't stopped ringing."

She said there was a 'steady trickle of customers through the doors' when they opened yesterday and added: "Everyone seems happy and in a good mood. Hopefully people are getting back into the shopping spirit."

Dorset Echo: Fiona Penny at SunflowersFiona Penny at Sunflowers

At St Alban Street's Limelight fashion boutique assistant Alice Kavanagh thanked locals for their support and noted an increase in new customers who had taken advantage of click and collect during lockdown.

She said: "The people of Weymouth have been fantastic. We've learned to adapt over the years and the whole 'support local' thing has been brilliant, it's really worked in our favour. People have been coming in for gift ideas and everyone seems to be out and enjoying being back in town."

Dorset Echo: Alice Kavanagh of LimelightAlice Kavanagh of Limelight

It was a quiet start for Fossil Beach gift shop at the beach end of town - however assistant manager Kyanna Richardson was confident things would pick up. "It's been nerve-wracking but we've had some quite big orders," she explained.

Dorset Echo: Kyanna Richardson of Fossil BeachKyanna Richardson of Fossil Beach

"I think the Government's decision to allow shops to stay open 24 hours a day is a really good idea as it will help spread things out and prevent a big Christmas rush."