The first pints have been poured, hair has been trimmed and couples can say “I do” in front of friends and family on what has been dubbed “Super Saturday”.
A major easing of the coronavirus lockdown measures, which came into force on 23 March, means thousands of pubs, restaurants, bars, hairdressers and cinemas across England are finally able to open their doors once again.
It is the biggest relaxation of the restrictions yet, although with modified social distancing conditions still in place.
However, with pubs allowed to reopen at 6am today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged people to stick to the rules and warned that jail could be an option for those who get carried away.
Mr Hancock told the Daily Mail that people were entitled to enjoy themselves at pubs, but added: “You could end up behind bars if you break the law.”
He has said he would not “shirk” from shutting pubs and restaurants again and imposing local lockdowns if needed.
Some of the things you can do from today
- Gatherings of two different households can take place indoors, providing social distancing is maintained
- The two-metre social distancing rule relaxed to “one-metre plus”
- Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers, bingo halls, community centres, hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, outdoor gyms, playgrounds, places of worship and most leisure facilities and tourist attractions can open
- Wedding services of up to 30 people will be allowed, but couples are advised not to have food, drink or singing
- All reopened premises will have to introduce a range of safety measures to ensure they are “COVID secure”
Here’s what’s still off the agenda
Despite the relaxation on lockdown measures, statistics from the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) suggest 31% of bars, pubs and restaurants will remain closed today, with some businesses saying they are “scared” of cases of the virus increasing.
And for Leicester, the first and so far only city to go into a localised lockdown due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the pubs all remain closed and new rules come into force – including fines of up to £3,200 for anyone who breaks them.
Meanwhile, pubs in Wales and Scotland must remain closed until later this month as the devolved nations lift their own lockdown rules more slowly, but hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes in Northern Ireland reopened on Friday.
The lifting of restrictions in England mean campers have been travelling across the country, with many arriving at sites in the South West to kickstart tourism there.
And two key workers were able to get married in a midnight ceremony.
Care home worker Jennifer Wilson and security guard Louise Arnold, both 22, tied the knot at the Peace Garden Pergola in the grounds of Runcorn Town Hall, Cheshire, in what was believed to be the first wedding after the updated guidelines came into force.
Ms Wilson said: “Last week the registry office rang and asked if we wanted to be the first couple in the UK to marry after lockdown, and we just said yes.”
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