QUEUES were building up outside Primark in Carlisle on Monday as people returned to the high street in their droves.

Non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality businesses were able to reopen in line with the governments easing of lockdown restrictions on 12 April.

Shoppers were delighted to be back.

"It's lovely to be back," said Julia Burcow from Carlisle.

"Last time we came shopping was Christmas, and everything since then has been online.

"I'm just glad to see the high street busy.

"The weather has been fabulous and I'm sure it will get much more busy come lucnhtime."

Brian Kirkwood was out shopping with his wife.

He said: "It's good to see things starting to return to some kind of normality, but its not made a great deal of difference to me what's happening today.

"We should never have got to the stage that we're in."

Cumbria Tourism Managing Director Gill Haigh says “After such a long period of closure it’s fantastic to see visitors and locals alike showing their support for local businesses across Cumbria.

“As the government’s phased reopening roadmap continues safety remains the top priority and we know how hard businesses have worked to create wonderful COVID-safe experiences.

“Whilst for many businesses this will mean operating at lower capacities or doing things a bit differently, they cannot wait to welcome customers once again and get back to doing what they do best.

“This is great news for the city and all it has to offer.”

Carlisle City Council have urged members of the public to hop safely.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Carlisle’s city centre is a safe place to visit and as it is pedestrianised, provides lots of space for social distancing.

“There is likely to be queuing at shops, so please look out for signage and follow the guidance.

“This is for your safety. Our street cleaning team will be cleaning the city centre on a more frequent basis, but please don’t litter; put your rubbish in the bins provided.

“We’re looking to welcoming visitors back to Carlisle and recommend that you shop local and support independent businesses.

“Before you make the journey, check the business’s website to see when they’re opening and what Covid-19 safety measures they’ve put in place."