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New Forest Business Partnership chairman Matthew Lawson welcomes roadmap step 3

BUSINESS leaders have welcomed more restrictions lifting on Monday to enable indoor facilities across the New Forest to throw open their doors to guests again.

The country is pressing ahead with loosening the rules to enable indoor hospitality firms to host customers, such as pubs, cinemas and arts venues.

Matthew Lawson, chair of the New Forest Business Partnership, said: "I welcome, with huge relief for our local businesses, moving to step 3 of the roadmap.

These are the steps lifting as part of Roadmap Step 3
These are the steps lifting as part of Roadmap Step 3

"We must do all we can to support them by shopping local as much as possible, whether that be on the high street or with our many local service industries.

"It is going to take some time for local businesses to trade profitably again after such long periods of closure during the pandemic."

Anthony Climpson, chief of tourism group Go New Forest, said: "The local tourism industry is not out of the woods yet but the best way to ensure continued success is to invest in great new quality products. That is exactly what Shorefield Holidays have done with their brand new treehouses.

"Whilst the 'staycation' effect will help until the end of the summer, the real test will be to maintain business levels this autumn and winter and that’s where Go New Forest and its members will be channelling our best efforts."

Lymington and Pennington Town Council has announced the town's charter market will resume on two sides of the High Street from 22nd May.

Drinkers have already toasted the reopening of outdoor areas
Drinkers have already toasted the reopening of outdoor areas

Tim Wedgwood, owner of Milford’s South Lawn Hotel, said it "can’t wait to welcome staying guests".

Beaulieu’s Rachel Goldstraw said "it was very much looking forward" to fully reopening, having already unlocked outdoor spaces at Bucklers Hard.

The New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst is relaunching with a new café offering New Forest Marque products.

But James Hiley-Jones, managing director at Greenclose Hotels which runs Brockenhurst’s Careys Manor, said recruitment remained its "biggest challenge".

With some restrictions continuing until 21st June, including limits to weddings, it "will still significantly impact on profit margins and continue to critical activities, such as the early summer wedding market", he added.

Dorset Police’s concern some crime may resume prompted it to send hotels educational videos for what staff should look out for in relation to county lines, child exploitation, human trafficking and cyber-crime.

Despite the easing, Ringwood’s popular pedal car grand prix has been cancelled but will run in 2022. The organisers said its July date was "too early to get the event running properly".

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