Bars’ outdoor areas also re-opened to as people returned to the town centre.
After a week of trading, some independent stores were reporting some of their best sales days in years.
Phil Elvin runs Punch Menswear on Wood Street, and described the first week of trading since re-opening as ‘unbelievable’.
He said: “It was better than we could have expected. There was a feeling that we were going into the unknown when we re-opened, but it was busy.
“We took a month's money in a week. I think it helps that people can sit outside a pub and get something to eat. We were selling a lot of heavy sweatshirts and jackets, and people are buying because they want to go out and use them. I think the sun has helped too.
"This week has been a bit slower, but it’s still busier than normal.
"There’s a buzz around the town. I’m optimistic after this week. It was probably the best week the shop has had, and the best we have seen after any of the previous re-openings after lockdown.”
Sarah Scott, who runs Tiffany ladies fashion shop on Cleveland Street, echoed Mr Elvin’s views, describing a busy first week of trading again.
"A lot of our regulars have been in,” she said. “The phone has not stopped ringing for people wanting to book to come in to look at wedding clothes, mostly for weddings in May and June.
"We are very pleased with it, and I think people have started to think that they need some new clothes. But I think some customers are still a bit wary of going out for an evening.
"We are really pleased and really hope it continues. This last week has certainly been busier than normal and people are coming in to buy, not just to browse.”
Some had been coming in to buy from their autumn sale, she added, at the back of the shop, which contained unsold pre-lockdown stock.
Richard and Michelle Smith run The Shoe Room shoe shop on Priory Walk. They had been continuing to trade through lockdown on the basis of sales over Facebook.
Michelle said: “The first Monday was excellent – we stayed open until 7.15pm, and it kept busy all week, and Saturday too was busier than we expected. There has not been a lot of browsing. People have been coming in knowing what they want and buying them. The general mood of people has been that it’s good to get out.
“Personally, I’e been really enjoyed being able to interact with people, not just put a video out on Facebook.”
Richard added: “We are 100 per cent positive and totally happy with the way the first week back has gone.”
Not all were as pleased. Andy Stancliffe, who runs Lakeside Furniture Direct, on Waterdale, said he had struggled for customers. He urged customers not to forget about the Waterdale Centre and to come and use some of the shops there.