Britain is hit by SNOW on frosty final weekend before lockdown is eased

Flurries of snow which hit parts of England today are expected to continue into tomorrow – but the skies will clear in time for Britons to enjoy a pint outside when pubs and restaurants reopen on Monday.

The snow, accompanied by a freak hail stone shower, caused chaos in the north-west with a number of crashes reported in the Lancashire area.

One car skidded off the motorway in Chorley as drivers had to brave the elements. Meteorologists warn rain, sleet and wet snow is then likely to fall in southern parts this evening.

The Met Office says the weather will then ease overnight, but showers of hail, sleet and snow are expected to develop tomorrow, in between patches of sunshine.

However, by Monday, a key date in Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown, the adverse weather conditions will start to clear, and drinkers heading to beer gardens will be greeted with clear skies and mild temperatures.

The mercury is forecast to remain steady, at around 53F-56F (12C-13C) at the start of next week with dry and bright conditions marking the reopening of hundreds of business across the country. 

The snow, accompanied by a freak hail stone shower, caused chaos in the north-west with a number of crashes reported in the Lancashire area

The snow, accompanied by a freak hail stone shower, caused chaos in the north-west with a number of crashes reported in the Lancashire area

The snow, accompanied by a freak hail stone shower, caused chaos in the north-west with a number of crashes reported in the Lancashire area

Two young football players chase the ball in an unexpected snow storm during a match near Altrincham this morning

Two young football players chase the ball in an unexpected snow storm during a match near Altrincham this morning

Two young football players chase the ball in an unexpected snow storm during a match near Altrincham this morning

A cyclist gets caught in an unexpected snow storm in Wilmslow, Cheshire today, before businesses reopen on Monday

A cyclist gets caught in an unexpected snow storm in Wilmslow, Cheshire today, before businesses reopen on Monday

A cyclist gets caught in an unexpected snow storm in Wilmslow, Cheshire today, before businesses reopen on Monday

Two women running through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham earlier today

Two women running through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham earlier today

Two women running through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham earlier today

Snow falls heavily in the North West today as joggers and canoeists head down the Bridgewater canal

Snow falls heavily in the North West today as joggers and canoeists head down the Bridgewater canal

Snow falls heavily in the North West today as joggers and canoeists head down the Bridgewater canal

Meteorologists warn rain, sleet and wet snow is then likely to fall in southern parts this evening

Meteorologists warn rain, sleet and wet snow is then likely to fall in southern parts this evening

Meteorologists warn rain, sleet and wet snow is then likely to fall in southern parts this evening

However, by Monday, a key date in Boris Johnson's road map out of lockdown, the adverse weather conditions will start to clear, and drinkers heading to beer gardens will be greeted with clear skies and mild temperatures

However, by Monday, a key date in Boris Johnson's road map out of lockdown, the adverse weather conditions will start to clear, and drinkers heading to beer gardens will be greeted with clear skies and mild temperatures

However, by Monday, a key date in Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown, the adverse weather conditions will start to clear, and drinkers heading to beer gardens will be greeted with clear skies and mild temperatures

A young footballer shields his eyes from an unexpected snow storm during a match near Altrincham earlier today

A young footballer shields his eyes from an unexpected snow storm during a match near Altrincham earlier today

A young footballer shields his eyes from an unexpected snow storm during a match near Altrincham earlier today

Two couples walk a child in a pram through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham

Two couples walk a child in a pram through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham

Two couples walk a child in a pram through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham

Snow falls heavily in the North West today as joggers and canoeists head down the Bridgewater canal

Snow falls heavily in the North West today as joggers and canoeists head down the Bridgewater canal

Snow falls heavily in the North West today as joggers and canoeists head down the Bridgewater canal

A couple walk their dog through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham this morning

A couple walk their dog through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham this morning

A couple walk their dog through snow on a path around Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth near Oldham this morning

 

Ahead of the great reopening, several councils across the country, including Westminster and Newcastle, have shut off roads and allocated pavement space to help restaurants and cafes accommodate demand with extra seating.

Beer gardens are expected to be at full capacity, with major pub chains including Fuller’s and Mitchells & Butlers saying they have seen ‘significant interest’ in regulars returning.

Pubgoers have been advised to run up tabs so they can avoid multiple trips indoors to pay for food and drink.

Official advice to businesses says the tab system will ‘ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue’.

The Department for Business said reports and rumours on social media there would be a ban on taking payment indoors, potentially forcing people to pay with cash outside, were incorrect.

A spokesman said: ‘If payment is not possible outdoors, payment can be taken indoors as a last resort. This is to ensure we limit the use of indoor space and protect people by stopping the spread of the disease.’

Indoor dining and drinking will remain forbidden until May 17. Monday also marks a return for indoor leisure, including gyms and swimming pools, for the first time in more than three months.

And those who want to get away from it all altogether will be allowed to travel domestically with their households on a ‘staycation’.

Last week holiday home rental company Cottages.com said that two-thirds of its properties in coastal locations or with hot tubs have been booked for the week beginning April 12.

Theme parks also reopen on Monday. The number of guests allowed at weddings will increase to 15, and funerals will be allowed to take place with up to 30 people.

Care home residents will be allowed two visitors, driving tests will resume and non-essential journeys between England and Wales will also be allowed again.  

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