Lockdown: shops, pubs and gyms met with queues as doors open across South

Watch: queues of one and a half hours outside Primark in Portsmouth this morning

People have been queueing outside shops across the region as lockdown restrictions were eased.

Monday is the first time, non-essential shops, salons and hairdressers are welcoming customers since the third national lockdown was legally imposed in England in January.

Primark in Portsmouth was met with queues from the early morning. One of the stewards said the line was an hour and a half wait from the main sign.

This was the scene as doors opened at these clothes shops in Bournemouth this morning.

Pub gardens and restaurants are now also allowed to open, along with indoor gyms, swimming pools, libraries and zoos, as England takes another tentative step towards normality.

After three months, some people could not wait a minute longer, with hairdressers and beauty appointments booked from the stroke of midnight.

Meanwhile, shops in Brighton & Hove will be able to open for longer hours to help support social distancing. Businesses can now operate from 7am to 10pm, allowing shoppers to avoid peak times. The council hopes the increased opening times will boost trade and also help the city's economy recover.

Sittingbourne Town Crier Richard Spooner marked the reopening of businesses here in the High Street at midday. 

It's been a long wait, especially for many independent business owners.

Traders at Oxford's covered market are among those who have been preparing for today. They've taken a number of measures, including limiting numbers and keeping doors open.

But one shop owner told us about the impact the pandemic has had on his business. 

  • Jaf da Souza- Shop owner

People also braved the cold to enjoy a pint for the first time in months at one minute past 12.Sara Seabridge, Landlady at The Yellow Stocks micropub in Sittingbourne say's 'it's so good to be outside again.'

While over in Berkshire, the high street in Newbury had once again burst into life.

People were seeing popping in and out of shops and meeting up with friends for a long overdue catch-up and a pint.

  • Newbury bursts into life as lockdown eased

And let's not forget gyms!

They opened across the South today, including Strength Base and The Ministry which are both in Basingstoke.

The teams there say they're delighted to be welcoming people back.

  • James McCallion, Personal trainer

  • Rob Carpenter, Personal trainer