Thirsty Britons packed the streets today as areas all over the country turned into al-fresco bars as people took advantage of the good weather to go out drinking.
In Battersea, south-west London, people shopped, settled in for a pint and enjoyed dinner at a variety of eateries as Northcote Road area has effectively become pedestrianised to help with social distancing.
Meanwhile, nearby Soho, in central London, continued to be a hive of activity as people dined al-fresco and enjoyed drinks with friends and family with roads also blocked off and tables and chairs in the middle of the street.
On the coast, sunseekers headed to the beach in Brighton and could be seen enjoying the hot July weather sat in deck chairs and strolling along the pier in shorts and caps.
It comes as pubs and restaurants are preparing for the second Saturday of trade after establishments opened their doors to the public for a July 4 bonanza dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.
However last weekend saw torrential rain as many were put off from leaving their homes, but today’s blazing sunshine could entice revellers to get dressed up and go out.
It comes after groups of young people in Leeds yesterday dolled up and went drinking with pals before tucking into kebabs, pizzas and fish and chips in the early hours of the morning.
Meanwhile outdoor pools opened today as sun-seekers flocked to the south coast as the UK braces for a sunny weekend with temperatures expected to hit 74F (23C).
Britons waking up to blue skies today splashed about in Hampstead Heath this morning while others took the plunge at Parliament Hill, where a lido has reopened after months of lockdown.
Others headed to the coast to soak up the sunshine at beaches in Bournemouth and Brighton, while campervans were parked and campsites set up in Polzeath, Cornwall after a week of rain and murky skies. Cricket also started up today as clubs all over the country took advantage of the fantastic weather.
People socialising in Soho, central London, this afternoon after the lifting of further coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England
Groups of people enjoy the sunshine today and eat outside in Battersea, Northcote Road, after lockdown regulations were relaxed
Crowds gather during the warm weather on Saturday evening at Roald Dahl Plass, in Cardiff Bay as coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions continue to be eased
Groups of people sat outside in Soho, central London, as people have started to get back to a ‘normal life’ after lockdown
People socialising in Soho, central London, after the lifting of further coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England
Drinking on the beach during sunny weather on the seafront in Brighton today as people took advantage of the good weather
Northcote Road in Battersea will effectively become pedestrianised at weekends until further notice – with the empty road space being made available for businesses to use so that their customers can maintain social distancing rules
Shoppers in Battersea head out today into the sunshine as more of the country emerges from lockdown
Diners and drinkers spaced out at tables on Northcote road in Battesea, south London, today
A swimmer dives into Parliament Hill Lido, on the first day of its reopening since the easing of lockdown following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease
Recreational cricket in England resumes today. Cricketers enjoy the game in the sun today at Tilford Cricket Club
Groups of people enjoyed dining out today in the capital and enjoying a drink as they take advantage of the eased lockdown rules
People enjoy dining outdoors on Northcote Road in Battersea during the warm weather today
Thousands of publicans are still refusing to pour pints for the public amid fears that it is impractical and costly to pubs to serve customers while capacity is reduced and social distancing stays in place.
Fears of the spread of coronavirus, a fresh wave of outbreaks if lockdown is eased too rapidly and widely, and a second costly lockdown are also high among independent businesses.
Publicans have told of how difficult it is to contain the urges of millennials amid crowded scenes in Soho, central London. Louise Chauvin, 26, who runs the Jaguar Shoes bar in Hoxton, told The Times: ‘It’s quite hard to communicate to customers, especially after two or three drinks, that they need to behave.
‘They can’t just get up and go to the bar and get a drink or go to another table and chat to someone random they don’t know. Mostly the issue we have is there’s a table of pretty ladies and a table of pretty boys and they just go over, like, ‘All right do you want a drink?’ – you can’t do that.’
Roy O’Keefe, owner of The Tib Street Tavern in Manchester, said: ‘The older crowd don’t seem to be coming in as much, it’s all lager that we’re selling at the moment – so you can tell it’s a younger age group.’
MailOnline reported how an Oxfordshire pub has banned drinkers under the age of 25 – because they can’t stick to social distancing rules. David Haines, landlord of The Royal Standard, said younger drinkers were putting staff and customers at risk by not adhering to the guidelines.
Those under 25-years-old will still be able to stay in the pub in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, until 8pm, but not after.
News of the pub’s new rules was shared on Facebook, and many commented on the post saying that the right decision had been made.
The post said: ‘(over) the last three nights have seen us attract unprecedented numbers of younger drinkers who are refusing to adhere to any social distancing rules which, in the current climate, is putting both our staff and our regular customers at risk.
Sunseekers flocked to beaches such as Bournemouth (pictured) and Brighton today to take advantage of the good weather
A group of women pick up some new houseplants as they go shopping in Battersea today amid eased lockdown rules
People sit at tables outside a restaurant in the Covent Garden area on Saturday afternoon as lockdown restrictions eased
Crowds gather during the warm weather on Saturday evening at Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay as coronavirus restrictions ease
Revellers relax and laugh outside a cocktail restaurant this afternoon in Soho, central London. Pubs may be expecting more footfall this weekend due to the good weather
Groups of people sit at a social distance in Soho, central London, today. The good weather this weekend may encourage more people out of their homes
Temporary restrictions are in place in Soho, central London, currently, meaning that roads are closed to vehicles and people can dine in the street
The Royal Standard pub in Oxfordshire has been inundated with drinkers and has taken its own measures to ensure social distancing is better imposed
This Facebook post was issued, in which the pub outlined how drinkers under the age of 25 would be asked to leave the premises after 8pm
‘We apologise to those who are affected and will review this decision periodically until we are in safer times.’
The move comes in the aftermath of many pubs up and down the UK struggling to adapt to the new normal, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
A senior police officer has predicted a fresh coronavirus onslaught after confronted with ‘pub fights, drunken violence and drunken, drugged-up fools’ on July 4 – the first night in which pubs re-opened their doors and started to serve again.
Social distancing was declared to be in tatters after jubilant drinkers called time on lockdown and descended on the nation’s pubs.
Cities across Britain were heaving on a scale not seen since Boris Johnson ordered bars to shutter over a hundred days ago.
The beer garden in the Oxfordshire pub, which shows tables separated to distance drinkers
Bottles of Corona were sold inside the pub along with a joking quip: ‘Coronavirus vaccine’
The government has come under fire for lifting restrictions too early while Leicester is still battling its own local outbreak, with many opting to stay at home for fear of driving a second nationwide wave.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock was triumphant in the aftermath of pubs returning, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge: ‘I think that from what I have seen although there are some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly.
‘And this balanced message is so important – people should enjoy summer safely and of course the emphasis is both on enjoy and safely.
‘We, of course, everybody knows that we are doing everything we can to get back to normal but only to do that where it is safe to do so.’
Meanwhile a single super-spreader forced a pub, a vape bar and an Indian restaurant to close after he went out drinking before later discovering he had tested positive for Covid-19.
The mystery drinker visited The Lighthouse Inn in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, before heading to Vape Escape during his bar crawl on Saturday, locals have claimed.
A driver from takeaway Saagar Indian had also been in the same pub as the man who has been praised for doing ‘the right thing’ by telling the businesses he visited about his result.
The three venues were forced to close out of precaution, clean and disinfect the premises, and have all their staff tested.
Though Vape Escape has reopened again, The Lighthouse Inn remains closed. The Indian takeaway is also closed ‘temporarily’.
The mystery drinker visited The Lighthouse Inn (pictured) in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset before heading to Vape Escape during his bar crawl, locals have claimed
Vape Escape was also visited by the man, but they have already being able to reopen thanks to negative test results and a thorough ‘deep clean’
A driver from takeaway Saagar Indian had also been in the same pub as the man, who later tested positive for the coronavirus. It has closed ‘temporarily’
Meanwhile, Durham Constabulary temporarily closed the Number One Bar in Darlington when officers decided staff were not in control of how customers were behaving.
The force also temporarily closed The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, County Durham, blaming ‘irresponsible behaviour’ at the two venues.
Three pubs in West Yorkshire, Hampshire and Somerset were all forced to close after drinkers tested positive for coronavirus.
Thousands of boozers reopened their doors to the public following months of lockdown. Over half remained shut, however.
The Lighthouse Inn’s pub landlady Jess Green said the experience had been ‘stressful’.
Ms Green shut the pub and rang at least 90 people who had left their contact details when they had visited on Saturday.
She told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘The main thing that was going through our heads was we had to make sure everyone was safe, that we contacted everyone of our customers.
‘We took it upon ourselves, because obviously Test and Trace can do all that, but we took it upon ourselves to do it because we knew that we had done it before it got out there. It took us all day, we finished at about 10 o’clock last night.
‘Our (list) was about 90 and there were actually more but if they were in a social bubble or a household, we took the main person and they spoke to the people they were with, so it could have been more than that.’
Durham Constabulary temporarily closed the Number One Bar in Darlington when officers decided staff were not in control of how customers were behaving
The force also temporarily closed The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, County Durham, blaming ‘irresponsible behaviour’ at the two venues
When asked what the experience was like, she said: ‘Stressful – that’s probably the only word I can use.’
Speaking about the closure, she said: ‘The pub will not re-open until our seven staff have tested negative and we should get the test results back today.
‘We’ve decided to close the pub to keep our staff and customers safe. We completed a full clean of the pub on Monday, in line with government guidance, and so we could actually re-open.
‘But we have pro-actively taken the decision to close – and we have received lots of positive feedback from the local community.
‘The man who tested positive has done the right thing in informing the businesses that he attended so we can inform customers and get everyone tested.’
The Indian takeaway, Saagar Indian, has also put a notice in the window stating that they had closed temporarily as a precaution.
Then they shared further news on social media, stating that one of their staff may have come into contact with the infected man.
They wrote: ‘It saddens me to tell you all that due to unforeseen circumstances, we are closing Saagar Indian takeaway up until Friday.
‘This is because one of the drivers has been in the same pub as the person who has tested positive to Covid-19.
‘This decision was not made easily, however during these tough times everybody’s health is the number one priority.
‘During this period we will be deep cleaning the whole building to ensure when it is re-opened we will be ready to go.’
‘We look forward to seeing you all again very soon.’
Vape Escape was also visited by the man, but they have already being able to reopen thanks to negative test results and a thorough ‘deep clean’.
The Village Home in Alverstoke, Hampshire is one of three pubs that have been forced to close after a customer tested positive for coronavirus
Owner Leanne Underhill, said: ‘It wasn’t the re-opening we had planned and we were informed on Sunday that a customer who had visited us had tested positive.
‘All of our staff have been tested and have come back negative. All customers have been informed, in line with Government guidance.
‘We have been following all the safety guidelines and because we took the names and numbers of customers as they entered the bar.
‘All of them have been able to be contacted.
‘As soon as I got the message about the positive test result on Sunday, I immediately closed the bar, locked up and spoke with the NHS and Police who informed us of the correct steps, all of which we have followed.
‘We have undertaken a full, deep clean and steam cleaned the premises and also disinfected everything, including all customer areas such as the toilets.’
The Fox and Hounds, in Batley, Yorkshire, wrote: ‘This morning I got a phone call off a customer which visited our pub on Saturday to say they’d tested positive for coronavirus’
The Lighthouse Inn in Burnham-on-Sea said it was forced to close and contact customers who had visited on Saturday after a customer tested positive for COVID-19
A closure notice at the Number One Bar in Darlington said: ‘When officers arrived at the premises the music was too loud and there was no social distancing taking place.
‘Customers were stood up at the bar, when staff were spoken to by officers, the staff stated that customers would not listen to their instructions and effectively could not control what was taking place in the premises.
‘The bar owner was intoxicated and argumentative. He did not seem aware of the guidelines and was certainly not adhering to them.’
The bar’s Facebook page said it had reopened for business.
Chief Inspector Neal Bickford said: ‘We want to say a massive thank you to those responsible establishments who complied with all the regulations to allow people to have a safe and enjoyable trip back to the pub.
‘We know it has been a tough three months for both businesses and revellers so it was great to see the vast majority of people working with us.
‘We will always look to work with those who need to improve but unfortunately two premises did have to be closed on Saturday following unacceptable behaviour.’
The Fox & Hounds, in Batley, West Yorkshire and The Village Home in Alverstoke, Hampshire were also among the first pubs in England to close following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The Fox and Hounds wrote on Facebook: ‘I got a phone call off a customer which visited our pub on Saturday to say they’d tested positive for coronavirus.
‘On their visit they was unaware and had no symptoms but after seeing a post off another place they’d visited thought it was best to take a test to which come back positive. Due to privacy reason we won’t be naming this person.’
Management have sought advice from NHS Track and Trace. All staff have been tested for the virus and the pub is undergoing a deep clean.
‘We fully understand this is a scary time but want to ensure our customer safety is our main priority in these tough times,’ the post read.
‘Over the past few weeks we have put alot of hard work into the pub following government guidance to get us opened back up.
‘Anyone that has visited us this weekend can see our new lay out of tables of one metre plus, our one way systems, full table service and continuously cleaning throughout.’
In a statement posted online, the Village Home said they hope to reopen on Saturday: ‘Anyone who was in the pub over the weekend there is no need to isolate unless you show symptoms or are contacted direct by the trace group.’
Dr David Nabarro, a World Health Organization coronavirus expert, conceded that ‘everybody has got to have fun’ after more than 100 days of lockdown.
But he warned clusters of the virus will inevitably break out if Britons can’t obey social distancing while enjoying their newfound freedoms as pubs, restaurants and holiday destinations reopen.
The ‘one metre plus’ rule was left in tatters on ‘Super Saturday’ when jubilant drinkers called time on lockdown and descended on the nation’s pubs.
Cities across Britain were heaving on a scale not seen since Boris Johnson ordered bars to close in a desperate bid to control Covid-19 on March 23.