Spending in restaurants has skyrocketed and figures suggest South Oxfordshire customers were happy to pick up the bill last week when diners were allowed to eat inside.

Banking firm Revolut analysed the data of its 12,000 customers in South Oxfordshire in the seven days to May 23, as they sat down inside restaurants and cafes for the first time this year.

Diners spent 28 per cent more over this period than they did the previous week when only outdoor dining was permitted, with one bill coming to a hefty £1,034.09.

However, spending was still 31 per cent below a normal week in February last year before the pandemic began.

Teodora Atanasov is the owner of Dorindos Mexican restaurant in Abingdon.

She explained that since the restaurant opened for diners on May 17, it has been full.

Ms Atanasov said: “We are crazy busy at the moment, we are fully booked.”

The owner said she is much happier now customers can dine in than when they were just offering takeaway food.

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She added: “The next three weekends are all fully booked, which is good. We have had amazing support from Abingdon people. We are very happy.”

Berro Lounge in Didcot has also been packed since restrictions allowed people to sit inside.

General manager Declan Tate said: "It has been fantastic since we reopened, we have had a massive surplus in sales, and we have already got used to all the Covid rules."

However, Mr Tate said they are not yet at full capacity and the restaurant will not have its full seating area until June 21 at the earliest.

Despite reopening, many establishments will be unable to have a full house until June 21, when all legal limits on social contact are due to be lifted in England.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is too early to say whether the easing of all restrictions will still go ahead as planned.

Last week also saw the reopening of many indoor entertainment and cultural venues, including museums, theatres, and cinemas – though they too are operating at reduced capacity.

The UK Cinema Association said the opening weekend was the first to see more than a million admissions since March 2020.

Revolut data shows that spending on cultural activities such as cinema trips between May 17-23 was 68 per cent below a normal pre-pandemic week in Britain.

In South Oxfordshire, spending was 57 per cent down, with 35 to 44-year-old men the biggest spenders in the area.

Overall, South Oxfordshire residents spent 4 per cent more on all activities over this period than they did the week before, including a 12 per cent rise on transport expenditure.

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