Police stop locked-down residents leaving Covid-hit Leicester which remains a ghost town


Residents in coronavirus-hit Leicester are stuck in their homes under strict lockdown tonight as hoards of merry drinkers around the rest of the UK flock to the pubs on Super Saturday.

Thousands of revellers have already seized upon today’s first major easing of lockdown measures to enjoy their first pint since bars shuttered three months ago.

Today also saw hairdressers reopen and wedding ceremonies commence again as Britons got a jubilant taste of pre-lockdown life.

But the streets of Leicester painted a different scene after locals were forced into another stringent lockdown because of an unexpected spike in Covid-19 infections.

Leicestershire Police tonight said it had more officers on duty than it normally has on New Year’s Eve – the busiest night of the year for emergency services – to prevent people attempting to sneak out of the city in order to reach the pubs.

In a taste of what communities across the country will face if there are flare-ups, all non-essential shops in the area have been ordered to shut by the Health Secretary, just two weeks after they were allowed to reopen. 

Residents of Leicester were ordered to remain at home as hoards of merry drinkers in other parts of England flocked to pubs on Super Saturday. Pictured: Police in Leicester city centre today

Officers were inside Leicester railway station on Thursday and Friday (pictured) to make spot checks on travellers to ensure people were adhering to the rules

Officers were inside Leicester railway station on Thursday and Friday (pictured) to make spot checks on travellers to ensure people were adhering to the rules

A police officer patrols a very quiet train station in Leicester as lockdown measures remain in force

A police officer patrols a very quiet train station in Leicester as lockdown measures remain in force

A beer garden in the Rose and Crown pub in Thurnby remained closed today as it is in the lockdown zone

A beer garden in the Rose and Crown pub in Thurnby remained closed today as it is in the lockdown zone

A council worker hangs a social distancing sign on a lamp post outside a closed pub on Saturday

A council worker hangs a social distancing sign on a lamp post outside a closed pub on Saturday

Police officers stand guard in the city centre as the area remains under strict lockdown following a spike in coronavirus cases

Police officers stand guard in the city centre as the area remains under strict lockdown following a spike in coronavirus cases

In other coronavirus developments today:

  • ‘Super-Saturday’ saw thousands of pubs in England open for the first time for sit-down customers since lockdown began on March 23, with some punters through the doors before 9am;
  • Spain’s western Catalan city of Lleida and the rest of Segrià county was put under lockdown from midday after a spike in the number of cases in the region;
  • The M5 in Exeter was swamped with camper vans heading to the coast as tourists made their weekend getaway as restrictions were eased;
  • Rishi Sunak has asked Britons to ‘eat out to help out’ in a bid to boost the economy and avoid a jobs meltdown that will hit the young hardest, leaving them ‘scarred by coronavirus’;  
  • On what is the biggest release of lockdown so far, salons opened at midnight and were working until morning to meet the frenzied demand from Britons aching for a post-lockdown trim.

Restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs in Leicester are all closed – except for takeaways – and people are also banned from staying overnight at another household.

Those in the restricted area can no longer visit people in private gardens or indoors, and could face fines if they flout rules.

As well as the city of Leicester, the lockdown area includes parts of Leicestershire that touch on the city’s boundaries, including parts of Blaby District and Charnwood in the county.

A woman walks past a closed champagne bar during local lockdown in Leicester on Saturday

A woman walks past a closed champagne bar during local lockdown in Leicester on Saturday

A man cycles past a closed barbers as the area remains under lockdown - unlike the rest of the UK

A man cycles past a closed barbers as the area remains under lockdown – unlike the rest of the UK

Another barbershop in Leicester remains shut as lockdown measures are in place. This is in stark contrast to rules in the rest of the UK

Another barbershop in Leicester remains shut as lockdown measures are in place. This is in stark contrast to rules in the rest of the UK

A government coronavirus alert message can be seen on the pavement in Leicester

A government coronavirus alert message can be seen on the pavement in Leicester

A man wears a face mask in a nearly-deserted Leicester city centre as lockdown continues

A man wears a face mask in a nearly-deserted Leicester city centre as lockdown continues

Officers were inside Leicester railway station on Thursday and Friday to make spot checks on travellers to ensure people were adhering to the rules.

Now in some parts dubbed ‘Leicester lepers’, residents of the local area have already been warned by holiday hotspots that many will be explicitly banning anyone from locked down Leicester in a bid to avoid virus spread.

The Government is keen for people to spend money in bars and restaurants in an effort to bring the economy back from the brink of disaster.  

Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier claimed the public needs to ‘eat out to help out’.

A civil enforcement officer patrols the city centre as lockdown continues in Leicester on Saturday

A civil enforcement officer patrols the city centre as lockdown continues in Leicester on Saturday

Samson Dias (right) and Vishnu Tandell (left) are not allowed to open The Charny public house in Spinney Hills, Leicester, but are offering breakfast takeaways

Samson Dias (right) and Vishnu Tandell (left) are not allowed to open The Charny public house in Spinney Hills, Leicester, but are offering breakfast takeaways

People walk past the still-shut Black Horse pub inside the lock down zone in Leicester

People walk past the still-shut Black Horse pub inside the lock down zone in Leicester

He explained on Saturday: ‘The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people’s livelihoods – Britain’s pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people – which is why it’s such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely.’

He made the comments as he visited The Bell & Crown in Chiswick, west London – a pub run by brewers Fullers, who only plan on opening 27 of their 215 own-managed venues on Saturday.

The new guidelines also allow staycations and overnight stays for the first time in months – apart from in Leicester.

Britons finally get to the pub after THREE MONTHS of lockdown… but are England’s drinkers already abandoning social distancing? Some revellers seem to ignore one metre rule with night of boozing ahead

By James Gant and Jack Elsom and James Robinson for MailOnline  

Crowds of merry Britons are continuing to toast the reopening of pubs by descending on bars across the country – but have displayed the first signs that social distancing is beginning to fray.

Thousands of drinkers have seized upon today’s wave of lockdown easing to enjoy their first pint since bars shuttered three months ago.  

But as the revelry grows livelier into the night, there are fears pub-goers will fail to stick to rules to keep ‘one-metre-plus’ apart.

London’s Borough Market was heaving this evening and drinkers were pictured sipping foamy pints while bunched together on the street.

Pub-goers are set to sink a staggering 15million pints at 23,000 establishments across the country, experts predicted.

They will be hit with hiked prices for beer, wine, cider and spirits as pubs including Wetherspoons desperately try to make up for lost business.

Revellers could still have their plans dashed as rain, cloud and wind is set to engulf parts of England throughout the day.

Roads are expected to be gridlocked in many areas as more than 10million motorists take to their cars and flock to beauty spots.

Meanwhile A&E departments are preparing for a surge in booze-fuelled patients by setting up tents outside hospitals to keep people socially distanced as they wait.

And police in Leicester, which has been forced back into local lockdown due to a spike in coronavirus cases, say there are ‘more officers on duty than on New Year’s Eve, to prevent people attempting to sneak out of the city in order to reach the pubs.

Borough Market in London, normally a busy hot-spot for food-lovers and those in search of a pint, was packed as people gathered in their numbers for the first time since lockdown began

Borough Market in London, normally a busy hot-spot for food-lovers and those in search of a pint, was packed as people gathered in their numbers for the first time since lockdown began

Crowds of merry Britons are continuing to toast the reopening of pubs - but have displayed the first signs that social distancing is beginning to fray (Borough Market pictured)

Crowds of merry Britons are continuing to toast the reopening of pubs – but have displayed the first signs that social distancing is beginning to fray (Borough Market pictured)

These two pub-goers were seen carrying plastic pints as they walked through the street in Borough Market, London

These two pub-goers were seen carrying plastic pints as they walked through the street in Borough Market, London

Some, such as this group in London, took the opportunity to play 'pub golf', a game in which pub-goers move from watering hole to watering hole trying to finish their drinks in as few sips as possible

Some, such as this group in London, took the opportunity to play ‘pub golf’, a game in which pub-goers move from watering hole to watering hole trying to finish their drinks in as few sips as possible

Borough Market in London was busy today as pubs and bars reopened for the first time since lockdown began in March

Borough Market in London was busy today as pubs and bars reopened for the first time since lockdown began in March

Borough Market wasn't the only busy London hot-spot to be crowded by pub-goers. The streets of Soho in London were also busy today

Borough Market wasn’t the only busy London hot-spot to be crowded by pub-goers. The streets of Soho in London were also busy today

As the evening draws in, bins in Soho are being filled with plastic cups, tins and bottles by eager pub-goers

As the evening draws in, bins in Soho are being filled with plastic cups, tins and bottles by eager pub-goers

Seating areas outside the bars and pubs in Soho were packed out by pub-goers eager for a drink with friends following the easing of lockdown rules

Seating areas outside the bars and pubs in Soho were packed out by pub-goers eager for a drink with friends following the easing of lockdown rules

Police and emergency services are preparing for an influx of drunk pub-goers tonight. in Manchester, one woman is seen throwing up while a man helps her

Police and emergency services are preparing for an influx of drunk pub-goers tonight. in Manchester, one woman is seen throwing up while a man helps her

Thousands of drinkers have seized upon the wave of lockdown loosening to enjoy their first pint since bars shuttered three months ago (Stratford pictured)

Thousands of drinkers have seized upon the wave of lockdown loosening to enjoy their first pint since bars shuttered three months ago (Stratford pictured)

For some it was a chance to dig out their evening-out clothes for the first time since lockdown began. Borough Market (pictured) was one of the busiest areas

For some it was a chance to dig out their evening-out clothes for the first time since lockdown began. Borough Market (pictured) was one of the busiest areas

London's Borough Market was heaving this evening and drinkers were pictured sipping foamy pints while bunched together on the street

London’s Borough Market was heaving this evening and drinkers were pictured sipping foamy pints while bunched together on the street 

This large group gathered for a drink at Borough Market in London as pubs reopened for the first time since lockdown began in March

This large group gathered for a drink at Borough Market in London as pubs reopened for the first time since lockdown began in March

A police officer stands at an elevated position to watch people drinking after the reopening of pubs and bars across England

A police officer stands at an elevated position to watch people drinking after the reopening of pubs and bars across England

Some pub-goers were able to find a seat outside The Market Porter in Borough Market, but those who couldn't stood outside

Some pub-goers were able to find a seat outside The Market Porter in Borough Market, but those who couldn’t stood outside

Police officers out on patrol through Soho in London as drinkers return to the pubs for the first time since lockdown began

Police officers out on patrol through Soho in London as drinkers return to the pubs for the first time since lockdown began

The streets of Soho in London were packed with pub-goers enjoying the reopening of bars and pubs today

The streets of Soho in London were packed with pub-goers enjoying the reopening of bars and pubs today 

People enjoy Super Saturday at The Market Porter in Borough Market, central London, after it reopened under the easing of the lockdown

People enjoy Super Saturday at The Market Porter in Borough Market, central London, after it reopened under the easing of the lockdown

Five pub-goers dressed in protective suits and with face masks enjoy their first pub pint since March at The Wellington pub in Borehamwood welcomes its first customers since lockdown began

Five pub-goers dressed in protective suits and with face masks enjoy their first pub pint since March at The Wellington pub in Borehamwood welcomes its first customers since lockdown began

A group of mates give a toast with their pints at the Shakespeare's Head pub in Holborn, central London, as it reopened today

A group of mates give a toast with their pints at the Shakespeare’s Head pub in Holborn, central London, as it reopened today

Customers raised a glass to celebrate the reopening of pubs after weeks of closures under the Coronavirus pandemic

Customers raised a glass to celebrate the reopening of pubs after weeks of closures under the Coronavirus pandemic

Taylor (left) and and Isaac (right) at the 5 Bells Pub, New Cross South East London enjoying their first pints post lockdown

Taylor (left) and and Isaac (right) at the 5 Bells Pub, New Cross South East London enjoying their first pints post lockdown

Locals and staff at the Circus Tavern in Manchester share a joke as they reopened today for the first time

Locals and staff at the Circus Tavern in Manchester share a joke as they reopened today for the first time

Pubgoers enjoyed a cold pint in the beer garden at the Canal house in Birmingham. The waterside location is large enough for several bubbles of friends to catch up and have a laugh on Super Saturday

Pubgoers enjoyed a cold pint in the beer garden at the Canal house in Birmingham. The waterside location is large enough for several bubbles of friends to catch up and have a laugh on Super Saturday

Plenty have rushed for a refreshing pint today, but others have enjoyed something sweeter, such as a cocktail. Pictured: Three pub-goers enjoying a drink in Convent Garden in London

Plenty have rushed for a refreshing pint today, but others have enjoyed something sweeter, such as a cocktail. Pictured: Three pub-goers enjoying a drink in Convent Garden in London

Pub-goers have been in good spirits today following the reopening of pubs and bars in England. Pictured: One pub-goer helps another with her shoe in Convent Garden in London

Pub-goers have been in good spirits today following the reopening of pubs and bars in England. Pictured: One pub-goer helps another with her shoe in Convent Garden in London

Four mates enjoy their pints of lager at The Moon in the Square pub in Bournemouth as they pose for a photograph this morning

Four mates enjoy their pints of lager at The Moon in the Square pub in Bournemouth as they pose for a photograph this morning 

These pub-goers in Newcastle enjoy a pint as police officers are seen patrolling the streets behind them

These pub-goers in Newcastle enjoy a pint as police officers are seen patrolling the streets behind them

Customers queue outside the Fat Cat Brewery Tap pub in Norwich on Saturday afternoon

Customers queue outside the Fat Cat Brewery Tap pub in Norwich on Saturday afternoon

Three men start the session early this morning as they sink their pints at The Moon in the Square pub in Bournemouth, Dorset

Three men start the session early this morning as they sink their pints at The Moon in the Square pub in Bournemouth, Dorset

Friends at a Wetherspoons in Bournemouth, Dorset, smile as they wait for their breakfasts. One has already started on his second pint of the day

Friends at a Wetherspoons in Bournemouth, Dorset, smile as they wait for their breakfasts. One has already started on his second pint of the day

Men raise their glasses for a cheers as they enjoy their first beers as the Chandos Arms pub reopened in north west London on Saturday afternoon

Men raise their glasses for a cheers as they enjoy their first beers as the Chandos Arms pub reopened in north west London on Saturday afternoon

A man on the booze in Manchester

Michael Robinson, 61, has the first drink at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London

Drinkers look delighted to start sinking their pints this morning. Left: A man on the booze in Manchester. Right: Michael Robinson, 61, has the first drink at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London

The doors of The Buck Inn in Sadberge, Teesside, opened to customers wanting a pint for breakfast, with this man being served by a masked barman

The doors of The Buck Inn in Sadberge, Teesside, opened to customers wanting a pint for breakfast, with this man being served by a masked barman 

Builders queuing to get into the Briar Rose on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham early on Saturday morning to get their first pint in

Builders queuing to get into the Briar Rose on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham early on Saturday morning to get their first pint in

An early punter enters The Hope &Champion in Beaconsfield, Bucks, and uses hand sanitiser station on the door to help stop the spread of coronavirus

An early punter enters The Hope &Champion in Beaconsfield, Bucks, and uses hand sanitiser station on the door to help stop the spread of coronavirus

One customer makes an early purchase at the revamped Hope & Champion in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Saturday morning

One customer makes an early purchase at the revamped Hope & Champion in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Saturday morning

These social distancing pods have been installed at Craft Dining Rooms in Brindley Place, Birmingham, on Super Saturday

These social distancing pods have been installed at Craft Dining Rooms in Brindley Place, Birmingham, on Super Saturday 

The White Hart in Duffield, Derbyshire, reopened its doors for the first time since lockdown, with contractors Ashley Lunn, Jon and Simon Ashton enjoying a beer

The White Hart in Duffield, Derbyshire, reopened its doors for the first time since lockdown, with contractors Ashley Lunn, Jon and Simon Ashton enjoying a beer

England is braced for 'pub-ageddon' as bars and restaurants reopen on Super Saturday but fears of 6am mayhem were calmed with most not set to start serving until after 8am. Pictured: A Wetherspoons in Beaconsfield this morning

England is braced for ‘pub-ageddon’ as bars and restaurants reopen on Super Saturday but fears of 6am mayhem were calmed with most not set to start serving until after 8am. Pictured: A Wetherspoons in Beaconsfield this morning

Bars were not able to throw open their doors to customers first thing because the regulations enforced their four-month closure until 6am.

With the new coronavirus rules not published until Friday afternoon, some landlords had planned to open as soon as the clock ticked past midnight. But Downing Street scotched the swift openings by ensuring the ban remained in place until after sunrise.

Among the first on the booze today was Andrew Slawinski, 54, who return to the Toll Gate Wetherspoons in Turnpike Lane, north London. He said his Guinness was ‘gorgeous’, adding: ‘It’s like winning the [Premier] League.’

Ben Clark and his friends Curtis and Connor, were waiting for The Briar Rose in the heart of Birmingham to reopen from 7am.

The (bizarre) Super Saturday rule book: What else is reopening today?

RESTAURANTS 

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can all reopen from today, with both indoor and outdoor seating options – subject to distancing guidelines – allowed. 

Reservations at popular spots are going fast, with some offering deals, discounts and free drinks to entice diners back.

HOTELS 

Discretionary reopening for all hotels, B&Bs, holiday apartments, caravan parks and campsites from today. The only exception is youth hostel dorms. 

BEAUTY SERVICES 

Hairdressers and barbers can also reopen today, including freelance stylists who come to your home. 

But other beauty services – nail bars, spas, waxing studios, massage parlours and tanning salons, whether mobile or in a fixed location, remain off-limits. Tattoo and piercing studios are also closed until further notice.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES 

Outdoor playparks, skate parks and gyms will reopen from today, as will amusement arcades and outdoor skating rinks. Indoor gyms, soft play areas, bowling alleys, dance/fitness studios, and indoor and outdoor pools remain closed until further notice.

All major theme parks, adventure parks, funfairs and model villages are set to reopen today, as are indoor attractions at zoos and safari parks, aquariums and enclosed areas of gardens, heritage sites and landmarks. Water parks and water rides remain closed.

WEDDINGS 

Weddings and civil partnerships can go ahead from today, but numbers are limited to 30 people, including the couple, witnesses, staff and officiants.

Churches, mosques and other places of worship are open to the public from today, although private services such as funerals and baptisms are limited to 30 people.

CINEMAS 

Showcase is the only chain to be reopening all its cinemas today.

Odeon will open ten venues up and down the country, followed by the rest on July 16. Everyman will follow the same pattern.

Community centres, social clubs and youth clubs can all reopen this weekend, as can libraries – both local and national – and bingo halls. 

The Geordie trio, covered in dust following a night shift working on a building site in the city, were ‘watching’ the pubs since 4am, eager to get their hands on the first pint since lockdown.

The mates wanted to grab a ‘well-deserved’ San Miguel and English breakfast from the Bennett’s Hill boozer.

Mr Clark said: ‘We’ve just finished night shifts, I’ve been watching the pubs since 4am this morning, when we came and reserved our tables ready for the pub opening ready for a pint of San Miguel and a breakfast.

‘I’m a big fan of Wetherspoons have been waiting for it since the first day of lockdown.’

Martin Sherrell, 63, pitched up at a Wetherspoons in Bristol at 8am and wolfed down a breakfast – before ordering alcohol as allowed at 9am.

He said he usually visits The Commercial Rooms but, as it was shut, was forced to relocate to The Berkeley with his two friends.

Mr Sherrell added the trio were the only people in the pub when it opened – although staff said they were expecting many more later.

He ordered a bottle of Magners cider – and said that he would be enjoying a few more as the day wore on.

He said: ‘I had an early night last night in preparation. I set the alarm for 6am – but I was up at 5:15am. I’ve barely slept since I heard the Prime Minister’s announcement that pubs could open.

‘I was joking that I would have camped outside if it wasn’t raining! Me and my mates usually meet a couple of times a week, but we haven’t been to a Wetherspoons since March. We’ve been drinking there for years.

‘There was just the three of us and three workers when it opened. I think they’re expecting more later. I’m being sensible about it though. We all are. I’m a full-time carer for my mum. I’ve got a mask with me. I’ve had a nice bottle of Magners cider – I do like them. I’ll have a couple more.’

One thirsty reveller even downed a Jagerbomb live on BBC News when he was approached about the pubs reopening.

He told the amused presenter ‘cheers’ as he raised his glass and then sank it in one at 11am.

Pubs along Portobello Road in Notting Hill, one of London’s busiest and most fashionable areas started filling up from midday onwards as drinkers made the most of the easing of the lockdown.

All the tables in the beer garden in The Earl of Lonsdale were occupied. Staff stood outside instructing customers of Covid secure regulations and welcoming them back.

Staff took orders and brought drinks to tables while customers were allowed to pay for their drinks without having to go to the bar.

Emma Jenkins, 28 who arrived shortly after 11am with five friends said: ‘It’s been more than 100 days since I’ve been to a pub and it feels great. It’s as if we’ve been let out of prison and are getting our lives back to normal.’

Terry Braithwaite, 32 said: ‘It’s lovely to be back in a pub. It makes a difference to just be able to sit in a pub, have a chat with your mates and pass the afternoon away. It’ s another sign that the country is slowly getting back on its feet.’

Other pubs were only admitting customers who had made prior bookings. A bar worker at The Castle said:’ We opened at 11am and thought we’d be fully booked. But it’s not as busy as we expected. We were expecting people would come in their droves to party but I think the bad weather has put them off.’

Thirsty pub-goers were queuing outside The Black Horse in Blaby, just 50m outside Leicester’s lockdown zone.

The pub was due to open at 12pm, but by 11.45pm a well-spaced line of eager customers snaked around the corner of the popular watering hole, keen to get their hands on a pint.

‘But I’m ordering a pint of Jack Daniels,’ joked Dave Barber, 27, a gas engineer from Blaby, who was queuing with his mate, window cleaner, Paul Adams, 52. ‘We’ve missed the pub. This is our local and it’s the social side you miss.’

Blaby resident Chelsea Hughes, 21, had her heart set on a pint of Carling. ‘Maybe a little bit of lime in it,’ said the Birmingham Airport employee, who admits she is concerned about the spread of Coronavirus. ‘It’s worrying,’ she said. ‘It’s only up the road where it has spiked.’

Leicester’s strict lockdown, which began last week after a surge in Coronavirus infections, means all pubs within the exclusion zone are closed and residents cannot travel outside the boundary for a drink. 

But the new lockdown appeared to be holding fast. There was no sign of locked-down residents seeking to breakout of the exclusion zone by train.

Leicester Station was devoid of customers and if anyone was considering catching a train to the ‘free world’ for a long-awaited pint then they had to navigate a band of inquisitive police officers in order to do so.

In an infographic, posted on Twitter today, Leicestershire Police said it had more officers on duty than it normally has on New Year’s Eve – the busiest nice of the year for emergency services.

People or businesses that repeatedly flout the local lockdown law could receive fines of up to £3,200.

Punter downs Jagerbomb live on BBC News at 11am in front of surprised presenters

A punter has downed a Jagerbomb live on BBC News at 11am to the surprise of presenters.

The man, who has not been named, said cheers before necking the drink as pubs reopened.

One eager customer downed a Jagerbomb live on television after he was approached by the BBC

One eager customer downed a Jagerbomb live on television after he was approached by the BBC

The presenter had told him: ‘I’m going to let you get back to the drinking, you have a great day.’

The man replied by raising a toast and finishing the shot before the camera cut.   

Hair salons and barbers were busier than pubs in many parts of the country, with customers patiently queuing outside waiting to get their locks in order. Chairs had been placed outside Frankie’s barber shop in East Acton.

Tony Forse, 42 said:’ I’ve been desperate for a proper hair cut. I know people have been paying black market prices for haircuts during the lockdown but I was getting my wife to do mine.

‘But she hasn’t done a very good job so I’m glad the barber can now sort it out.’

In Leicester pub-goers were queuing outside The Black Horse in Blaby, which is just 50 meters outside Leicester’s lockdown zone.

The pub was due to open at 12, but by 11.45 a well-spaced line of eager customers snaked around the corner of the popular watering hole, keen to get their hands on a pint. 

Local Chelsea Hughes, 21, had her heart set on a pint of Carling adding ‘Maybe a little bit of lime in it.

‘Coronavirus is worrying. It’s only up the road where it has spiked.’

There was no sign of locked-down residents seeking to breakout of the exclusion zone by train.

Leicester Station was devoid of customers, and if anyone was considering catching a train to the ‘free world’ for a long-awaited pint then they had to navigate a band of inquisitive police officers in order to do so.

‘We have turned a handful of people away, who have wanted to travel but it has been non-essential,’ said one police officer stationed at the entrance. ‘It’s been things like visiting a girlfriend. No one has admitted to travelling for a pint.’     

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has welcomed the reopening of businesses.

On a visit to The Bell & Crown in Chiswick, west London, he said: ‘The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people’s livelihoods – Britain’s pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people – which is why it’s such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely.’

But in a blow for punters, Wetherspoons – renown for its cheap alcohol – has increased prices for beers, wines and spirits by 10p as it reopens 900 pubs. Most will also see meals also hiked by up to 20p, but prices vary depending on location.

An insider told the Sun: ‘New menus have been sent out across the country and it seems that the Wetherspoon pubs are keen to recoup money lost during the lockdown as soon as possible.

‘I think they hoped people would have forgotten what the prices were in March and this would all just slip under the radar.’

A pint or spirit drink is not the only thing pub-goers have been enjoying today. These three pub-goers here enjoy a selfie outside a bar in Soho, London

A pint or spirit drink is not the only thing pub-goers have been enjoying today. These three pub-goers here enjoy a selfie outside a bar in Soho, London

In Bournemouth the local O'Neill's proved popular with drinkers lining up to get inside for their first drink

In Bournemouth the local O’Neill’s proved popular with drinkers lining up to get inside for their first drink

A customer sanitises his hands at The Mossy Well, a J D Wetherspoon pub reopen for business, in Muswell Hill, London, today

A customer sanitises his hands at The Mossy Well, a J D Wetherspoon pub reopen for business, in Muswell Hill, London, today

Customers are seen at The Holland Tringham Wetherspoons pub in London after it reopened following the closer at the outbreak of coronavirus

Customers are seen at The Holland Tringham Wetherspoons pub in London after it reopened following the closer at the outbreak of coronavirus

Bar staff in PPE pour drinks at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London, on Saturday morning

Bar staff in PPE pour drinks at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London, on Saturday morning

 

Table service is one of the ways that pubs are helping people to social distance, by preventing people from gathering at the bar

Table service is one of the ways that pubs are helping people to social distance, by preventing people from gathering at the bar

These two pub-goers enjoyed some chicken wings with their drinks at the Goldengrove pub in Stratford in East London today

These two pub-goers enjoyed some chicken wings with their drinks at the Goldengrove pub in Stratford in East London today

These bar staff at the Black Horse Inn in Haxby, York, wore protective face masks and served behind plastic shields to protect both them and customers

These bar staff at the Black Horse Inn in Haxby, York, wore protective face masks and served behind plastic shields to protect both them and customers 

Staff also sprayed down the tables at the pub with disinfectant before customers arrived at the Black Horse Inn in Haxby, York, today

Staff also sprayed down the tables at the pub with disinfectant before customers arrived at the Black Horse Inn in Haxby, York, today

Customers enjoyed both food and drink while sitting outside a pub in Newcastle today, as restrictions were eased further

Customers enjoyed both food and drink while sitting outside a pub in Newcastle today, as restrictions were eased further

The Black Lion pub in London was a popular destination for pub-goers hoping to get their first pulled pint since late March

The Black Lion pub in London was a popular destination for pub-goers hoping to get their first pulled pint since late March

Refreshing pints and soft-drinks were served in plastic cups at the Terrace Bar of the Alexandra Palace in London today

Refreshing pints and soft-drinks were served in plastic cups at the Terrace Bar of the Alexandra Palace in London today  

Table service was on the menu at the Terrace Bar at Alexandra Palace as pubs try to keep people away from the bars, allowing better social distancing

Table service was on the menu at the Terrace Bar at Alexandra Palace as pubs try to keep people away from the bars, allowing better social distancing

Social distancing rules were very much in place at the Alexandra Palace Terrace bar, with tables spaced out more than two metres apart

Social distancing rules were very much in place at the Alexandra Palace Terrace bar, with tables spaced out more than two metres apart

Meanwhile Samuel Smith pubs will see pint prices rocket by up to £1 as they reopen their doors. The popular Taddy Lager will shoot up from £2.30 to £3.40 per pint while Sovereign Bitter goes from £2.04 to £3.04.

The company, based in Yorkshire, has about 200 pubs that will reopen today and previously banned punters from using their phones to get people talking.

One landlord, who asked not to be named, said: ‘It’s a heck of a price hike – I don’t know how I’m going to explain it to the customers. It’s not going to make reopening after the lockdown any easier.’

What are the social distancing rules for ‘Super Saturday’ and beyond and what are pubs having to do? 

From today people from up to six individuals from different households can meet up outside, while people from two households of any size can meet inside in England.

You can meet different households at different times.

But you still have to social distance with people from those different households.

The social distancing has been cut from the strict two metre rule – down to Boris Johnson’s new ‘one metre plus rule’.

This means people should try to keep at least two metres if possible, but mitigate with face masks and other protective equipment where they can’t.

Pubs will also have to stick to some rules.

Drinkers will have to give their names and details to bar staff to assist with NHS Test and Trace.

There are limits on the number of customers that can enter at one time, to help maintain social distancing.

Bars must provide table service, while drinkers will be stopped from waiting at the bar.

Pubs will also be encouraged to provide hand sanitiser stations.

Noise, such as music and from sports on TV is also banned, to prevent people from singing and shouting.

There will also be less self-service of food and cutlery. 

 

Some pubs have refused to reopen today due to fears they cannot operate safely. Greene King, one of the biggest chains in the country, has decided to phase in its reopen, with 1,700 staying shut today.  

The first of its pubs will open on Monday under ‘safe social distancing layouts’. A spokesman for the firm, which runs brands including Hungry Horses, Chef and Brewers and Wacky Warehouses, told the Mirror: ‘We welcome the news that pubs, alongside other hospitality venues, can reopen.

‘Pubs play an important role at the very heart of their communities and have been sorely missed by customers as well as those who work in them. 

‘We look forward to welcoming back customers to our pubs and providing that great hospitable pub experience we all love.’

Today Labour leader Keir Starmer attacked the Government for having its messaging ‘all over the place’ in regards to the easing of lockdown.

Sir Keir told TimesRadio: ‘The messaging has been all over the place.

‘You have had some Government messaging saying go out and have a drink, other messaging saying be responsible, be cautious – the messaging, I think, has been very poor over the last few weeks.

‘Today is a massive day, and it is a real test.

“We have supported the easing of restrictions and we have supported the Government on that.

‘But, we have been very mindful of the risks, so we are saying be very cautious the virus hasn’t gone away.’  

It is not the only member of the hospitality industry delaying its reopening, with figures from the Night-Time Industries Association predicting 31 per cent of establishments will follow suit.

NTIA boss Michael Kill said: ‘Our members feel stuck in a bizarre tug of war between Government, licensing and planning regulators and the police.

‘But no-one knows which rope to pull and in which direction, leaving businesses stranded in the middle with no way to move forward and out of this mess.’

The national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said feedback from branches suggested up to half of pubs have not reopened today.

Speaking after raising a pint of Marston’s Pedigree to mark the end of England’s 105-day pub shutdown, Camra’s Nik Antona said many licensees had done a fantastic job to manage to reopen in the face of insufficient notice from the Government.

After being greeted by Steve and Katy Boulter, who run the Royal Oak in Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire, Mr Antona said one-way systems, protective screens and other measures had made pubs safe.

But he said: ‘I think it’s going to be difficult for pubs. They are opening up under uncertain circumstances. They don’t know if they’re going to get their customers back.’

Some police forces, such as Cornwall and Devon said drinkers have a two-hour limit in the pub.

But Surrey Police said if establishments are full of people it is up to trading standards & local authorities to deal with.

It added: ‘If there are issues, police can be called to assist, but we are confident businesses will make reopenings as safe as possible.’

Meanwhile, pubs in Wales and Scotland must remain closed until later this month as the devolved nations are lifting their own lockdown rules more slowly, but hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes in Northern Ireland reopened on Friday.

Not everywhere was rammed with pub-goers. In Newcastle people enjoyed a drink while being able to social distance

Not everywhere was rammed with pub-goers. In Newcastle people enjoyed a drink while being able to social distance

While many enjoyed a drink outside pubs and bars, some enjoyed a drink inside, including this group, who met at The Black Lion pub in London

While many enjoyed a drink outside pubs and bars, some enjoyed a drink inside, including this group, who met at The Black Lion pub in London

Pubs were keen to let punters know they were reopen today - including The Mayflower Pub in Lymington, Hants, who displayed this sign

Pubs were keen to let punters know they were reopen today – including The Mayflower Pub in Lymington, Hants, who displayed this sign

Drinkers will sink a staggering 15million pints at 23,000 establishments across the country, experts predict. Pictured: he Wheatsheaf Pub, Borough Market, central London

Drinkers will sink a staggering 15million pints at 23,000 establishments across the country, experts predict. Pictured: he Wheatsheaf Pub, Borough Market, central London

With many public toilets closed, temporary public toilets have been set up in the street in places such as Soho, London

With many public toilets closed, temporary public toilets have been set up in the street in places such as Soho, London

NHS Test and Trace cards for customers to fill in at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London

NHS Test and Trace cards for customers to fill in at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London

A staff member opens the doors of The Holland Tringham Wetherspoons pub, following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown today for the hospitality sector

A staff member opens the doors of The Holland Tringham Wetherspoons pub, following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown today for the hospitality sector

Different pubs and bars are trying different ways to keep their customers safe, including The Barn Restaurant in St John, Cambridgeshire, which has built outdoor dinning pods

Different pubs and bars are trying different ways to keep their customers safe, including The Barn Restaurant in St John, Cambridgeshire, which has built outdoor dinning pods

The plastic pods keep customers closed in from other customers at the restaurant. Here a member of the waiting staff enters to the pod to take the order

The plastic pods keep customers closed in from other customers at the restaurant. Here a member of the waiting staff enters to the pod to take the order

Pub reopening is delayed after car smashes through the front window

A pub has had to delay its reopening today after a car smashed through the front window. 

Ray Perkins is still hoping to welcome back hundreds of thirsty punters later – despite the incident in the early hours of the morning.

The 67-year-old has spent months preparing for Independence Day with wife Ann.

Their long-awaited plans for the easing of lockdown at the Swan Inn in Ashford, Kent, looked to be in tatters this morning after the 2am smash.

It trashed the front wall of the pub and left rubble strewn across the bar.

Ray Perkins is still hoping to welcome back hundreds of thirsty punters later - despite a car crashing through the Swan Inn in Ashford, Kent in the early hours of the morning

Ray Perkins is still hoping to welcome back hundreds of thirsty punters later – despite a car crashing through the Swan Inn in Ashford, Kent in the early hours of the morning

Mr Perkins said: ‘We don’t want to let people down, they’ve waited long enough for a beer. The show must go on.’ 

Kent Police said in a statement: ‘We were called at 2.24am to a report of a car colliding with a pub in The Street, Little Chart, Ashford.

‘Officers attended along with South East Coast Ambulance Service and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

‘Three 17-year-old boys, who were inside the vehicle, were taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries before being discharged.

‘One of these teenagers has been arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent and drink driving. He remains in custody at this time.’

People gagging for a pint in Wales are being told they must continue to follow the five-mile advice and stay local this weekend as pubs open over the border in England.

First Minister Mark Drakeford warned while those living very close to England may be able to visit pubs that are open, it would not be possible for the majority of people in Wales.

Police forces have also urged Welsh residents to heed the ‘stay local’ advice while Transport for Wales said public transport should only be used for ‘essential travel’.

Pubs in Wales will only be able to operate outdoors from July 13. The ‘stay local’ requirement in Wales will end on Monday when two households will be able to form one extended household – enabling families to be reunited.

Business could be slower than expected in England, with some punters expected to be turned off by the dreadful weather predicted. Many parts of the country will be cloudy with outbreaks of rain and drizzle, particularly in the west.

But there will also be some drier and brighter spells in the north and further south, which will be breezy but humid. Tonight is turning wet and very windy across northern areas, whilst mostly cloudy further south with some rain and drizzle at times. London will see highs of 62F (19C) – with the highest chance of rain at 3pm.

Met Office Meteorologist Alex Deakin said: ‘There is a whole daisy chain of weather fronts looking to spiral their way in across the UK this weekend, with the low pressure systems.

‘South westerly winds are bringing in moisture and humidity. There will be lots of rain over higher areas in the west and across Wales. It will stay damp, misty, murky and drizzly for many areas.

‘Temperatures will struggle into the mid or high teens. The wind will be steadily increasing through Saturday, with further rain for Scotland and northern Ireland over night.

‘There is a yellow weather warning in place for Scotland on Sunday morning because of the wind. Gusts of 50-60mph are possible. Speeds like that are unusual for this time of year and could cause some disruption.’ 

Boris Johnson urged the public not to ‘blow it’ by not behaving safely and abiding by social-distancing rules when the restrictions are eased for the hospitality industry.

The regulations signed off by Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote into law a 30-person limit on gatherings at home and outdoors in settings not deemed ‘Covid-secure’.

One man at The Hope & Champion Wetherspoon pub at the Beaconsfield services in Buckinghamshire tucks into his full English breakfast

One man at The Hope & Champion Wetherspoon pub at the Beaconsfield services in Buckinghamshire tucks into his full English breakfast

One of the first drinkers gets to work at the Rochester Castle pub in Stoke Newington, North London, on Saturday morning

One of the first drinkers gets to work at the Rochester Castle pub in Stoke Newington, North London, on Saturday morning

Pubgoers wait to get into the Square Peg, a Wetherspoons on Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre, to enjoy their first drink

Pubgoers wait to get into the Square Peg, a Wetherspoons on Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre, to enjoy their first drink

A customer uses hand sanitiser upon entering the Shakespeares Head pub in Holborn, London, as it reopened on Saturday morning

A customer uses hand sanitiser upon entering the Shakespeares Head pub in Holborn, London, as it reopened on Saturday morning

Social distancing signs tell customers what they need to do while they're being served at the Hope and Champion in Beaconsfield

Social distancing signs tell customers what they need to do while they’re being served at the Hope and Champion in Beaconsfield

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘The regulations also keep in place a list of premises that must remain closed and that includes nightclubs, nail bars and salons, indoor play areas, gyms, conference centres and exhibition halls.

‘Those regulations mostly come into force at 12.01am on Saturday July 4. The reopening of pubs and bars specifically comes into force at 6am. That would just be in the event anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight.’

NHS chief warns of Super Saturday ‘pub-ageddon’ as Matt Hancock declares drunken thugs will be thrown into jail

Drunken thugs will be locked up if they run riot on ‘Super Saturday’, Matt Hancock warned last night.

The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could ‘by all means go to the bar’ today but they had to be sensible.

He added: ‘You could end up behind bars if you break the law.’ 

NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint and not ‘pub-ageddon’ when bars and restaurants open for the first time in more than three months.

Writing in the Mail, he said doctors and nurses did not want ‘the drunk and disorderly’ to flood hospitals.

The double intervention came ahead of the biggest easing of restrictions since a sweeping national lockdown was imposed at the end of March.

Typical licensing conditions still apply, so pubs could only open at the time they normally have permission for, which is rarely 6am.

Laws limiting indoor gatherings to two households and outdoor gatherings to six people have now been revoked – although Government guidance still advises these are wise precautions. The 30-person limit would prevent mass gatherings, Number 10 said.

The PM’s spokesman added: ‘The reason for setting the figure for 30 is we do have to put a number into law and that is to provide police with the powers that they need to break up a rave or some other large gathering which is clearly irresponsible and in breach of the social distancing rules.’

Pubs, restaurants, cinemas, hotels and some other venues or organised events are exempt from the 30-person limit as long as sufficient measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Roads across the country became gridlocked as many took to their cars to descend on beauty spots as restrictions were eased on overnight stays.

A huge backlog of caravans were stuck in a jam on the M5 this morning.

The Exeter road was swamped with camper vans heading to the coast as tourists made their weekend getaway on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.

Traffic was also underway on the M25 in Kent as hotels, restaurants and pubs re-open with people being able to stay overnight or longer in England. 

There were multiple reports of accidents on the M5 involving holiday traffic, with the Exeter-based HART ambulance team seen heading southbound towards Junction 31.

Approximately 6.5million Britons are planning overnight stays with friends or family, with around two million driving to campsites, another 680,000 heading to caravan sites and a further million to stay in hotels and B&Bs, according to research from the RAC.

The M5 Exeter was swamped with camper vans and caravans heading to the coast at Junction 30 this morning, as tourists made their weekend getaway on what has been dubbed 'Super Saturday'

The M5 Exeter was swamped with camper vans and caravans heading to the coast at Junction 30 this morning, as tourists made their weekend getaway on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’

Traffic on the M25 motorway in Kent early this morning as hotels, restaurants and hotels re-open with people being able to stay overnight or longer in England as part of the next stage of the coronavirus lockdown easing

Traffic on the M25 motorway in Kent early this morning as hotels, restaurants and hotels re-open with people being able to stay overnight or longer in England as part of the next stage of the coronavirus lockdown easing

There were also multiple reports of accidents on the M5 involving holiday traffic, with the Exeter-based HART ambulance team seen heading southbound towards Junction 31

There were also multiple reports of accidents on the M5 involving holiday traffic, with the Exeter-based HART ambulance team seen heading southbound towards Junction 31

Traffic on the M25 motorway in Kent this morning as 'Super Saturday' gets underway, with booking websites reporting an increase in traffic as holidaymakers looking to make their getaway within the UK

Traffic on the M25 motorway in Kent this morning as ‘Super Saturday’ gets underway, with booking websites reporting an increase in traffic as holidaymakers looking to make their getaway within the UK

Traffic on the M25 motorway in Kent with one car pictured towing a camper van. Approximately 6.5million Britons are planning overnight stays with friends or family, with around two million driving to campsites

Traffic on the M25 motorway in Kent with one car pictured towing a camper van. Approximately 6.5million Britons are planning overnight stays with friends or family, with around two million driving to campsites

Members of the public walk around Alton Towers near Stoke today as the popular theme park reopened with coronavirus safety measures in place

Members of the public walk around Alton Towers near Stoke today as the popular theme park reopened with coronavirus safety measures in place

Thrillseekers queue outside the front of Alton Towers in Alton, near Stoke, as they wait to go on rollercoasters for the first time in months

Thrillseekers queue outside the front of Alton Towers in Alton, near Stoke, as they wait to go on rollercoasters for the first time in months

A child wears a Oblivion-themed mask as he has his temperature checked at the entrance to Alton Towers before he rides the popular rollercoaster

A child wears a Oblivion-themed mask as he has his temperature checked at the entrance to Alton Towers before he rides the popular rollercoaster

People enjoy a ride at the Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington in Surrey as the park reopened following months closed

People enjoy a ride at the Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington in Surrey as the park reopened following months closed

Three people smile as they ride a rollercoaster at World of Adventures in Chessington, Surrey, on Saturday afternoon

Three people smile as they ride a rollercoaster at World of Adventures in Chessington, Surrey, on Saturday afternoon

The onslaught of boozers is also expected to see a huge surge in A&E patients over Saturday, with hospital chiefs ordering tents be set up outside some to keep social distancing.

Clinicians could triage patients outside the building to see if they needed to be in A&E or if they could be treated at home.

One doctor begged punters to take it easy as they descended on the pubs. He posted a picture in full PPE and called for people to drink responsibly.

Dr Keir Philip said on Twitter: ‘I just got dressed for the pubs reopening today. Please drink responsibly, which means not in a pub.’

Paramedic Laura Heath added: ‘Off to the pub today? If anything, be sensible and please don’t drink and drive. Working 6-6 today, choose your ride back wisely.’

Dr Tom Leckie, consultant in emergency medicine, at the Royal Oldham Hospital, told the MeN: ‘We are asking the public to think carefully before attending A&E this weekend and in the coming weeks.

‘COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities and our hospital are continuing to care for sick patients both with COVID-19 and other emergency problems.

‘We have already seen an increase in attendances prior to the easing of lockdown measures this weekend. We are expecting our service to remain busier than usual which may result in delays for you if your condition is not considered an emergency.’

NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint and not ‘pub-ageddon’ when bars and restaurants open for the first time in more than three months. Writing in the Daily Mail, he said doctors and nurses did not want ‘the drunk and disorderly’ to flood hospitals.

Dr Keir Philip said on Twitter: 'I just got dressed for the pubs reopening today. Please drink responsibly, which means not in a pub'

Paramedic Laura Heath added: 'Off to the pub today? If anything, be sensible and please don't drink and drive. Working 6-6 today, choose your ride back wisely'

Left: Dr Keir Philip said on Twitter: ‘I just got dressed for the pubs reopening today. Please drink responsibly, which means not in a pub.’ Right: Paramedic Laura Heath added: ‘Off to the pub today? If anything, be sensible and please don’t drink and drive. Working 6-6 today, choose your ride back wisely’

Drunken thugs will be locked up if they run riot on ‘Super Saturday’, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned last night

NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint and not ‘pub-ageddon’ when bars and restaurants open for the first time in more than three months

Drunken thugs will be locked up if they run riot on ‘Super Saturday’, Health Secretary Matt Hancock (left) warned last night. NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens (right) also called for restraint and not ‘pub-ageddon’ when bars and restaurants open for the first time in more than three months

The double intervention came ahead of the biggest easing of restrictions since a sweeping national lockdown was imposed at the end of March. Mr Johnson issued his own warning last night, urging the public not to ‘blow it’ by throwing caution to the wind.

Boris’s local lockdown threat: As pubs open doors for first time in 14 weeks, PM warns public: Don’t blow it

Boris Johnson told the nation ‘don’t blow it’ as pubs reopened for the first time in three months today – and threatened more local lockdowns if the virus surges.

Police are bracing for mayhem on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ with more officers deployed in some parts of the country than on New Year’s Eve.

Pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to resume trading from 6am with the Prime Minister describing it as the ‘biggest step yet’ back towards normality.

A timetable for the re-opening of other venues that remain shut, including gyms and swimming pools, will be published next week along with guidance on mass gatherings such as concerts.

People will also be allowed to start playing cricket again from next weekend. However, Mr Johnson struck a note of caution yesterday, urging the public to ‘enjoy the summer sensibly’. 

He warned that lockdown restrictions could be re-imposed on local hotspots if there is a sudden spike in coronavirus infections. Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re making progress, we think we’re in good shape but my message is let’s not blow it.’

At a Downing Street press conference, he added: ‘As we take this next step – our biggest step yet on the road to recovery – I urge the British people to do so safely.’

He cautioned that the country was ‘not out of the woods yet’. 

He said today was ‘our biggest step yet on the road to recovery’ but insisted he would reimpose localised lockdowns if reckless behaviour led to a resurgence of the coronavirus. ‘In Leicester, we took decisive action to stop infections shooting up,’ said the Prime Minister.

Health Secretary Mr Hancock added: ‘When it comes to local action, I won’t shirk from a shutdown if that is what’s needed to keep people safe – and that includes closing bars and pubs, if necessary.

‘I’m no killjoy, but the virus can still kill. I don’t want to see bars and pubs have to close again. I love going to the pub and enjoy a pint or two.’

The police and the emergency services are bracing for mayhem today. In some parts of the country, more officers have been deployed than on new year’s eve. Mr Hancock pledged 100 per cent support for police chiefs tasked with stopping ‘Super Saturday’ disorder.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also urged people to make the most of the easing to boost the economy, claiming the public needs to ‘eat out to help out’.

He told the Times: ‘This is a consumption-driven economy; people used to, three months ago, go out with their friends or family to go and have a meal. 

‘Or buy a car, or upgrade their house, or move house. Go camping, come up to the Yorkshire Dales and go coast to coast.’

Officials have urged people to continue following social-distancing measures if they are to take part in team sports, with football and cricket being allowed in outside spaces.

The latest laws also allow Mr Hancock to order the closure of any public outdoor space, such as parks, if there is a ‘serious and imminent threat to public health’.

Fines could still be imposed for those deemed to be flouting the rules and police officers still have the power to disperse large groups.

The rules must be reviewed again before the end of the month. Separate regulations to enforce the continued lockdown in Leicester were published on Friday.

‘I’ll have a Corona, hold the virus’: Drinkers share their excitement at returning to their locals as pubs reopen after three months – with a few hangovers expected in the morning

Britons have taken to social media to share their comical reactions as thousands of merry revellers flocked to pubs across the country after they reopened today.

Drinkers shared their excitement at having their first-pint in three months, with some memes hinting at the copious volume of booze set to be consumed.

But, with social distancing rules appearing to fray in places, some weary onlookers used social media to add a dose of humour to their serious concerns.

One Twitter user, who goes by Dave, used a chaotic pub-fight scene from Eastenders to illustrate predicted clashes between drunk pub-goers.

One Twitter user, who goes by Dave, used a chaotic pub-fight scene from Eastenders to illustrate predicted clashes between drunk pub-goers.

One Twitter user, who goes by Dave, used a chaotic pub-fight scene from Eastenders to illustrate predicted clashes between drunk pub-goers.

Another shared a hilarious graphic to hammer home the fact that social distancing measures remain in place, even as revellers get more and more intoxicated.

The text adjacent to pictures of pints gets gradually more incoherent as the number of drinks increases – until social distancing rules are disregarded all together.

Other people hinted at potential Corona beer jokes that weary bar tenders may repeatedly hear.

Another meme, shared by Twitter user Simon, showed two hazmat-suit clad people fixing a tank. He captioned it ‘tapping the barrel at the local pub’.

Another meme, shared by Twitter user Simon, showed two hazmat-suit clad people fixing a tank. He captioned it 'tapping the barrel at the local pub'

Another meme, shared by Twitter user Simon, showed two hazmat-suit clad people fixing a tank. He captioned it ‘tapping the barrel at the local pub’

 

Other people hinted at potential Corona beer jokes that weary bar tenders may repeatedly hear

Other people hinted at potential Corona beer jokes that weary bar tenders may repeatedly hear

One man shared an image of two people camping outside a pub to convey his excitement

One man shared an image of two people camping outside a pub to convey his excitement

 

NHS chief warns of Super Saturday ‘pub-ageddon’ as Matt Hancock declares drunken thugs will be thrown into jail if they break the law as bars and restaurants reopen from 6am

  • The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could ‘by all means’ go to the bar provided they are sensible
  • NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint when bars and pubs reopen tomorrow morning
  • Pubs and bars have been preparing for ‘Super Saturday’ by ensuring social distancing measures can be met 

Drunken thugs will be locked up if they run riot on ‘Super Saturday’, Matt Hancock warned last night.

The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could ‘by all means go to the bar’ today but they had to be sensible.

He added: ‘You could end up behind bars if you break the law.’ 

NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint and not ‘pub-ageddon’ when bars and restaurants open for the first time in more than three months.

Writing in the Mail, he said doctors and nurses did not want ‘the drunk and disorderly’ to flood hospitals.

The double intervention came ahead of the biggest easing of restrictions since a sweeping national lockdown was imposed at the end of March.

The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could ‘by all means go to the bar’ today but they had to be sensible. Pictured: BrewDog Tower Hill staff finish preparations for tomorrow's opening with plastic screens in place on tables

The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could ‘by all means go to the bar’ today but they had to be sensible. Pictured: BrewDog Tower Hill staff finish preparations for tomorrow’s opening with plastic screens in place on tables 

Barman Michael Fitzsimons wears PPE while pouring a pint behind a protective shield at the bar, during final preparations at The Faltering Fullback pub in North London, ahead of its reopening

Barman Michael Fitzsimons wears PPE while pouring a pint behind a protective shield at the bar, during final preparations at The Faltering Fullback pub in North London, ahead of its reopening

The George, in Eton, Windsor, Berkshire had a staff training evening tonight as they get ready to reopen their pub tomorrow

The George, in Eton, Windsor, Berkshire had a staff training evening tonight as they get ready to reopen their pub tomorrow

The Corner Ale and Cider House in Windsor, Berkshire is preparing to reopen their pub tomorrow on what has been billed as 'Super Saturday'

The Corner Ale and Cider House in Windsor, Berkshire is preparing to reopen their pub tomorrow on what has been billed as ‘Super Saturday’

Boris Johnson issued his own warning last night, urging the public not to ‘blow it’ by throwing caution to the wind.

He said today was ‘our biggest step yet on the road to recovery’ but insisted he would reimpose localised lockdowns if reckless behaviour led to a resurgence of the coronavirus.

‘In Leicester, we took decisive action to stop infections shooting up,’ said the Prime Minister.

The Health Secretary added: ‘When it comes to local action, I won’t shirk from a shutdown if that is what’s needed to keep people safe – and that includes closing bars and pubs, if necessary.

‘I’m no killjoy, but the virus can still kill. I don’t want to see bars and pubs have to close again. I love going to the pub and enjoy a pint or two.’

The police and the emergency services are bracing for mayhem today, with pubs allowed to reopen from 6am. In some parts of the country, more officers have been deployed than on new year’s eve.

Staff at BrewDog Tower Hill tonight prepare to reopen tomorrow with social distancing measures in place

Staff at BrewDog Tower Hill tonight prepare to reopen tomorrow with social distancing measures in place

People on social media have joked about the number of pub-goers who will be headed to bars on 'Super Saturday' tomorrow

People on social media have joked about the number of pub-goers who will be headed to bars on ‘Super Saturday’ tomorrow 

In other developments last night:

  • Greece, Spain, France and Belgium were put on a list of 59 countries which Britons can visit without having to undergo 14 days of quarantine. The US, Portugal and China were excluded;
  • Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed the Government’s policy on air bridges and quarantines had been ‘shambolic’;
  • Scientists warned that the ‘R’ rate in London may have crept above 1;
  • Mr Hancock pledged ‘the biggest flu jab programme in history’ to prepare for the risk of a second wave of coronavirus;
  • It is believed only half of the nation’s 28,000 pubs will reopen today;
  • Official figures showed that almost 30,000 more care home deaths occurred during the pandemic than in 2019;
  • The total death toll rose to 44,131 with a further 137 confirmed yesterday; 
  • It was claimed the UK was in talks to join an EU plan to secure supplies of potential coronavirus vaccines;
  • The PM said cricket could resume next weekend and suggested the use of face masks in queues and confined spaces.

Mr Hancock pledged 100 per cent support for police chiefs tasked with stopping ‘Super Saturday’ disorder. 

Staff at BrewDog Tower Hill in London prepare the pub's menu in preparation for its reopening tomorrow

Staff at BrewDog Tower Hill in London prepare the pub’s menu in preparation for its reopening tomorrow

After being shuttered for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pubs and restaurants, many of which have already been serving for take-away, can fully reopen as of July 4

After being shuttered for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pubs and restaurants, many of which have already been serving for take-away, can fully reopen as of July 4

Asked if courts should take a tough line with booze-fuelled idiots who start fights in pubs, he said: ‘Of course, the law is there for a reason. The Government would not shrink from shutting pubs again where there was irresponsible behaviour.’

The British Medical Association urged revellers to act responsibly amid fears that emergency departments could see a sharp rise in alcohol-related casualties.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, also warned at a news conference of the danger of the ‘superspreading’ of coronavirus in pubs.

And Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said: ‘This virus is a long way from gone, it is not going to be gone for a long time. Nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step.’

In his article for the Mail, Sir Simon urged the public to ‘exercise restraint’ today.

He said: ‘Our A&E doctors, nurses and paramedics are desperate not to see so-called ‘pubageddon’ – with hospitals flooded with the drunk and disorderly.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk