LOCKDOWN has been difficult to us all for many reasons.

A majority of businesses are temporarily closed and fearing for their future due to the pandemic’s poor economic impact, our once busy town centres are now littered with empty shops and no one around.

We also cannot see our families or friends or even hug our loved ones.

The reasons for a lockdown are to limit social mixing to lower coronavirus cases across towns and around the country and it appears it is working, with case numbers dropping.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the easing of lockdown restrictions will be based on a "cautious and prudent approach” as he faces calls to unveil a roadmap out of lockdown.

We asked our readers on Facebook what restrictions they want to see lifted first and this is what they have suggested.

‘I want to hug my boy so much’ - Seeing family and loved ones

This was a very popular suggestion from our readers, who all clearly miss seeing their families and friends in person, as opposed to on a video call.

Many feel that seeing loved ones would be a moral boost and improve everyone’s mental health.

Diane Brocksom shared: “Just to be able to see my sons and their family even if it’s for cuppa and piece of cake all together.”

Julie Rowe commented: “Family, especially those with family in care homes. I want to hug my boy so much.”

Sarah Clegg wanted the travel restrictions to be eased so she will be able to see her family who live far away.

She said: “Travel so I can visit family even if at a distance it’s been months now so long overdue. I don’t really care about anything else.

“I’d feel more normal and my mental health would be a lot better getting to socially distance see family and friends.”

‘Schools before pubs’ – Parents urge return to schools

Schools are likely to be one of the first areas to reopen, with a rumoured date of March 8.

Many readers agreed that children’s wellbeing and education should be a priority and be among the first sectors of the country to reopen.

Babz Hoskins said: “Schools before anything opens back up” while Rachel Watson added: “Schools before pubs!”

Gillian Lee Lindsay agreed, and said: “Schools, then slowly others things but not to let others travel to Dorset for Easter and restrict travel.”

But Kevin Haime disagreed, and noted that schools cannot reopen due to concerns on social mixing.

He said: “Schools should be last (to reopen) as that many people mixing before it’s under control is asking for another lockdown.”

‘My barnet needs sorting out’ - Hairdressers

With Dorset and the country under a lockdown since January, hairdressers and barbers were forced to close as they were deemed non-essential businesses.

Some people have allowed their partners cut their hair but many people have let their hair grow out.

Many people are yearning for the reopening of salons so their ‘lockdown hair’ can be cut and styled again.

Josh Betts simply said: “Hairdressers - my barnet needs sorting!” while Kat Lambourne joked: “My son is starting to look like something from The Ring!”

Gemma Wood commented: “We need normality of some sort to come back as mental health is so important for people - whether that be getting out for a hair cut or travelling to see family.”

Calls for support for independent businesses

Independent businesses have been severely hit by lockdown restrictions, and some readers said small traders and sports facilities should be able to open first.

Chris Woodman said: “Open small local shops, supermarkets shouldn't have been allowed to sell non-essentials all along.

“Small independent shops are way safer than large numbers (of people) in a supermarket.

While many workers are furloughed, some households are missing regular income or their livelihood.

Poppy Sheldrake commented: “Non-essential shops to be able to open so my husband can go back to work and we can start having an income again.”

Charity shop worker, Tracey Burston, called for charity shops to reopen so that charities can receive some much need funding following a disruptive year.

She said: “Can’t wait to return to work and see my work team and our customers. (We can) start bringing in some money for our wonderful charity.”

'Safe' pubs should be allowed to reopen, say readers

Many readers recommended that pubs should be allowed to reopen in order to allow others to meet each other and support struggling landlords.

Rachel Abel commented: "Pubs as local pubs were safer than supermarkets. They were well organised and seated service."

But Lottie Charlotte Hansford disagreed, and shared: "I’d really like to just be able to visit my family and friends! I don’t need pubs and restaurants but I do need my loved ones."

When will lockdown restrictions be lifted or eased?

At the moment, there is no clear date of when lockdown measures will be eased or relaxed and any indication of what will reopen first.

The Prime Minister stressed that any easing of restrictions needs to be done in stages and said that his road map out of lockdown on Monday will be done in a way that ensures it is “irreversible”.

Mr Johnson was asked whether he agrees with Professor Dame Angela McLean’s comments to the Commons Science and Technology Committee that any unlocking should be based on “data, not dates”.

Speaking to reporters from a mass vaccination centre in Cwmbran, South Wales, the Prime Minister said: “I do think that’s absolutely right.

“That’s why we’ll be setting out what we can on Monday about the way ahead and it’ll be based firmly on a cautious and prudent approach to coming out of lockdown in such a way to be irreversible.”

Mr Johnson said easing restrictions should be done “cautiously” as he noted that hospitality was one of the last sectors to reopen after the first lockdown.

“I know there’s a lot of understandable speculation in the papers and people coming up with theories about what we’re going to do, what we’re going to say, and about the rates of infection, and so on,” he told reporters.

“I would just advise everybody just wait, we’ll try and say as much as we can on that.”