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England reopens pubs after lockdown

18 Comments
By Natalie Thomas and Will Russell

People relished their first pub drinks in more than three months, went to restaurants and finally got haircuts on Saturday as England took its biggest steps yet toward resumption of normal life after the coronavirus lockdown.

Some pubs started serving from 6 a.m., sparking worries of over-indulgence on what the media dubbed a "Super Saturday" of restrictions being eased. Some hairdressers were reported to have opened at the stroke of midnight.

"It's beautiful just to get back and have a pint," said Jim Martin, a 56-year old carpenter enjoying a beer at The Holland Tringham pub in south London, part of the JD Wetherspoon chain. It opened at 8 a.m. and was about three quarters full by 11.20 a.m.

Julie Scott, a 43-year-old teacher, was there with her family for drinks and food.

"I think it's just where everyone gets to socialise and catch up with people that they haven't seen...it's nice to just get together," she said.

Others complained that the lockdown, which began in late March and has been gradually eased in recent weeks, had lasted too long.

"It's about time they opened them up," said pensioner Ron Lock.

Police chiefs worried the reopening of pubs could fuel drunken and irresponsible behavior, while hospitals have been warned to prepare for a New Year's Eve-style weekend.

"There's an element of decompression going on, particularly with younger people who've had some very responsible parents keeping them in over recent weeks," Marc Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, told BBC radio.

Britain has been the European country worst hit by the coronavirus, with more than 300,000 infections and an official death toll of 44,131.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has faced criticism from the opposition over its handling of the pandemic including locking down later than some other parts of Europe - and is now anxious to get the battered economy moving again.

Men queuing for haircuts and busy hairdressing salons were a common sight across the country.

At Savvas Barbers in Streatham, south London, healthcare assistant Benjamin Prior, 31, said he normally gets a cut every month but has had to wait four months.

"It’s just brilliant to finally get a new haircut now, it’s the length I want, short as possible," he said.

In another relaxation of lockdown rules, two households can now meet indoors as long as social distancing is maintained, and overnight stays are allowed.

The rule changes apply only to England as the devolved nations in the United Kingdom - Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - have been setting their own timetables for easing restrictions.

The Sun newspaper predicted that 15 million pints (8.5 million liters) of beer would be sunk in England on Saturday.

Johnson called on people to behave responsibly and respect social distancing regulations as the risk of a resurgence of the coronavirus remains. He also stressed the importance of supporting businesses.

"We must not let them down," he said at a news conference on Friday.

One pub-goer's pint was immediately controversial. Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, well known for his fondness for beer, tweeted a picture of himself in a reopened pub, but was met by a storm of tweeted criticism and suggestions he should still be observing a 14-day quarantine as mandated for people traveling from the United States.

Farage attended a campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20.

Ed Davey, the acting leader of the small opposition Liberal Democrats, said he had reported Farage to the police.

Farage later tweeted that he had served his quarantine time, and had taken a test for the virus which was negative.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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It is nice to see people going back to their lifes.

Of course it will not take a long time and the Virus will spread again.

But that is normal.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

"Cheers!"

"To your health, old boy!"

Masks? Who needs masks.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Madness.

All that good work undone in the rush to open. And on a Saturday?

Once there's a few jars in, social distancing goes out the window.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@Monty you know, that’s a very good attitude to have. I mean yes, we want to stop the spread of the coronavirus whenever possible, but you can only have any kind of lockdown for so long. I mean I live in the US, and even though cases are really spiking, people are getting out, and also back to work because of it. And since there’s a lot more awareness now obviously, then when people do get the coronavirus, they’ll know what to do, whereas before they wouldn’t know.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Jeez, couldn't they get any bigger tables? They're practically rubbing noses.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Well, this is only going to end one way.

Sigh.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Finally people can get back to drinking sensible measures

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

About time. It's been one massive overreaction.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Choices will mean dilemmas. predicaments to UK Pub and hospitality industry. This pandemic lock-down is a existential threat to an industry essential to UK national social psyche.

August September will present more economic impact assessments for a UK Government to contemplate, monetary/fiscal.

It would be premature, speculative even scaremongering to run through the numbers. essentially the consequences to/for UK economy and future employment market.

The UK furlough scheme will have to cease/end. At this point the pandemic ramifications will be fully realized.

Go out enjoy a drink or ten, you all are going to need it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Great to get out and enjoy the sun- good luck to

them!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well done to them and it’s about time! It’s going to spread either way, like the flu. Just go about like normal instead of cowering in fear like the media would have you do.

@monty, yep. Speaks volumes doesn’t it

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Well done!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Read this on Twitter from someone calling themselves ‘Mrs Nigel Farage’:

“My morning:

6.00 Nigel goes to the Goat and Battleaxe

6.08 Nigel on third pint of Olde Sphincter 

6.15 Nigel loses £25 on the frutie

6.23 Nigel borrows £25 from Ann

6.26 Nigel eats cheese bap, wrapped in clingfilm. Fails to recognise (or remove) clingfilm

6.31 Ambulance called.”

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Looks like another beautiful summer’s day in England

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Daily Mails headline was celebrating the fact that 15 million pints will be drunk.

Priorities eh.

Of course people are delighted to get some freedom.

Enjoy it responsibly

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They're drinking wine out of pint glasses... definitely going to end badly

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You've got to hand it to Farage. He knows how to live rent free in the heads of those who dislike him.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

You've got to hand it to Farage. He knows how to live rent free in the heads of those who dislike him.

I disagree with Farage on almost everything but quite like him in some ways. He was certainly the best debater in the debates before the Brexit vote. I used to listen to his LBC show now and again.

You must admit though, the man’s man image with a ciggie and a pint and the patriotic posturing is a bit cringeworthy. He does invite jokes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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