WEST Somerset took a big step towards life easing back toward normal this week as relieved owners of salons, pubs and cafes were able to open up their premises to customers once more.

Minehead town centre was significantly busier than it has been in recent weeks as locals and day visitors made their way into the high street, but traders did say there were still a lot of cautious people uncertain about visiting just yet.

Joanne Kelly, owner of the cafe Avenue 39 in Williton, said: "It has gone quite well so far.

"I think there is some nervousness but once we have explained and shown people how the system is in place here they feel comfortable.

"Understandably some of our customers are in the demographic that are more wary, so I think trade will gradually pick up."

Mrs Kelly said she felt West Somerset residents were being cautious.

"We opted not to open on Saturday, fearing a potential rush, but actually I think a lot of people felt the same way - I know many opted not to visit the pub on Saturday, saying they would do so down the line."

Lisa Hunt runs Lisa's Vintage Tea Rooms in Minehead with her husband Jonathan.

She said the business had stayed busy during lockdown providing a takeaway service, before opening the cafe to seated customers on Monday.

"It has been good so far, we have had locals and a few day trippers in from further afield, and it is good to see the town generally looking busier," Mrs Hunt said.

"The customers are loving it although it isn't easy for the staff, they have a lot to adapt to. We are at half capacity but also trying to balance the takeaway service too."

West Somerset's hairdressers have been busy since re-opening on Saturday, with many already booked up into August.

Jodie Hodgson works at Lianne's Hair Studio in Friday Street.

She said: "It has been fairly smooth since re-opening, but very busy.

"We are here until 9pm some nights, but the customers are pleased to see us after so long; many are more like friends than clients."

Kelly Dorries, who co-owns Hair @ Number 1 in The Parks, Minehead, said it had been quite steady going so far, although said footfall was still down compared to normal.

"It has been nice to see familiar faces coming back, and nice for me not to be stuck at home!"