Pub-goers have a hangover today after lifting a glass to the end of England's ban last night – despite Boris Johnson's dictation that they must have a "hearty meal" to soak up the booze.
The revelers took to the streets of Tier 2 cities across the country to have a drink with their household indoors or outside with their friends.
Londoners enjoyed a night of mostly drinking and eating outdoors, and many shops that were as fully booked as possible were toasting a tiny touch of freedom after a four-week lockdown. There were queues around the block outside a few pubs in Soho and east London.
Many seemed to have already spent the day storming stores for pre-Christmas bargains in the West End on Wild Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come back to stores today.
Outside of the capital, Liverpool was particularly busy after being discontinued by Tier 3 – but the pubs, bars and restaurants in neighboring Manchester, which were usually packed with people in December, were quiet and either closed or only open to take away.
Although the government told pubs and bars that drinkers must have a "substantial meal" of alcohol, photos taken last night suggest that not everyone was eating.
Boris Johnson has imposed strict lockdown levels on 99 percent of England. 55 million people are not allowed to come into contact with other people indoors until next year. Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly were included in Tier 1, although infections have emerged in almost every corner of the country.
The slight easing of the lockdown by Mr Johnson was as follows:
- 50 hospitals are prepared for the UK's largest vaccination program – Operation Panacea – which will introduce Pfizer Covid puffs from 7 a.m. Monday morning.
- Education Secretary Gavin Williamson refuses to cancel next year's GCSE and A-level exams – but they are rated more generously.
- Matt Hancock and even the Prime Minister can be vaccinated on live TV to convince people to get vaccinated in 2021.
- Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned that face masks could be necessary "for years" at a press conference that saw Boris Johnson interrupted to assure that life would soon be "back to normal".
People were standing in line for drinks at McCooley's Irish bar in Liverpool last night when the lockdown in England ended
With a few drinks and a touch of normalcy, Liverpool pub goers were clearly enjoying a good evening
Concert Street in Liverpool was very crowded with bar staff, forced to keep the crowd in orderly queues
Times may be unprecedented, but Merseyside students couldn't resist falling into old habits like enjoying a drink and shoving a friend into a shopping cart
Police patrolled the streets of York, but very few problems were reported when pubs opened
Drinkers cling to cans with a warehouse line to enter a Soho bar when London's hotel industry reopened after four weeks
Police take a picture of two friends reunited in London's West End last night enjoying wine and food
Bars have opened large outdoor areas with heated pavilions to encourage customers during a pandemic
Downing Street has given the thumbs up to "wet pubs" – that usually don't serve meals – to team up with local fast food outlets to keep pulling pints. Pictured: revelers in Liverpool city center on Wednesday night
People outside pubs in Soho, London, following the end of the second national lockdown and England's entry into an even tighter system of coronavirus restrictions
Fans line up ahead of the Sky Bet League One game between Shrewsbury Town and Accrington Stanley in Montgomery Waters Meadow as English football welcomed fans for the first time since March
On Wild Wednesday, families were also out in the West End of London – where retailers started their pre-Christmas sales as their stores reopened
Bars and restaurants reported strong trade after allowing those under Tier 2 restrictions to reopen for the first time in a month.
What can you do on each row in a pub?
- Tier 1 – Pubs are open to alcohol or food, and people from different households are allowed to sit together.
- Rank 2 – Pubs can only serve alcohol with a “substantial meal”. People from different households can only sit outside and have to follow the “rule of six”. Those who sit at the same table in the pub must come from the same household.
- Tier 3 – Pubs are closed to everything except take away.
However, this came with the caveat that drinks could only be served with a substantial meal, while there was much debate about whether this could include a Scottish egg.
Landlords used ingenious methods to circumvent the rules, including one in Worcester that opened for drinks while people were ordering food from the chippy next door.
People were lining up in front of the Wetherspoon branches in many places from early morning, including some who want to enjoy a beer with their cooked breakfast.
Restrictions are that those who eat indoors in pubs in tier 2 areas should only do so with members of their own household or their own bladder. Groups of up to six people can meet in outdoor areas – such as pub beer gardens.
Bars, pubs and restaurants must be closed in tier 3 areas.
Retailers were able to open across the country.
The drop in temperatures didn't stop friends in Tier 2 from meeting in bars and restaurants for the first time in a month – and as darkness fell in London, many were tucked into their "hearty meal" outdoors.
The three alert levels with varying degrees of severity, which today replaced the national lockdown, manifested themselves in strikingly different social scenes in English cities.
In tier 3 areas such as Manchester, where pubs and restaurants are only open takeout, a normally lively pub scene has been muted.
The Churchill Arms Christmas lights are an icon in West London – and manager James Keogh poses outside in a Christmas sweater
People line up to enter the Welkin bar in the city center while Liverpool enters Tier 2
The ever-popular Cafe Boheme on Old Compton Street had a crowded outdoor area last night
New rules that came into effect in England today mean that landlords in Tier 2 areas can only sell alcoholic beverages with a "substantial meal". Pictured: revelers in Liverpool city center on Wednesday
Punters are not allowed to bring their own groceries to a pub – they pour cold water on plans to use grocery delivery services like Deliveroo. Pictured: revelers in Liverpool city center on Wednesday
But the rules have created a dilemma for landlords in pubs with no kitchens – some are turning to serving takeaway to keep pints going. Pictured: revelers in Liverpool city center on Wednesday
Soho on the first night for a lot of people after the second ban since March
People were eating and drinking outside of bars and restaurants in the West End last night
While the two percent of people living in Tier 1 under the loosest measures – only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly – only partied in the pubs with the 11 p.m. curfew and the six-point rule.
The rulebook in the pubs means that today's reopening is a world away from the wild Super Saturday in July, when bars greeted punters again after the initial lockdown.
Many tier 2 pubs have set up outdoor dining areas to accommodate customers who want to meet friends from another household.
In London's Soho district, some venues have set up pavilions to protect people from the cold and installed heaters.
Boris Johnson now supported savvy pub landlords who use takeaways to provide customers with a "full meal".
Downing Street has given the thumbs up to "wet pubs" – that usually don't serve meals – to team up with local fast food outlets to keep pulling pints.
A spokesman said, however, that pubs will need to reach an agreement with "local restaurants" to comply with England's new Covid Tier 2 rules.
Punters are not allowed to bring their own groceries to a pub – they pour cold water on plans to use grocery delivery services like Deliveroo.
New rules that came into effect in England today mean that landlords in Tier 2 areas can only sell alcoholic beverages with a "substantial meal".
But the rules have created a dilemma for landlords in pubs with no kitchens – some are turning to serving takeaway to keep pints going.
Landlords in Tier 2 areas can only sell alcoholic beverages with an “extensive meal” under new rules that come into force in England today. That's why the Brewer & # 39; s Arms in Worcester has partnered with a local chippie to make food serving possible
A barmaid in the Windmill Pub in Mayfair, London, pictured today serving beer with a Scottish egg and a sausage roll
A pub in Worcester today teamed up with a local fish and chip shop to provide food for drinkers.
Meanwhile, a bar in central London plans to allow customers to order from McDonald's to bypass the rules.
However, Downing Street said today that pub-goers and landlords will need to use their judgment to decide what complies with the coronavirus restrictions.
When asked whether Deliveroo orders could be sent to pubs to meet the "large meal" requirement in Tier 2 areas, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said customers are prohibited from bringing in groceries bought elsewhere.
"It is up to both customers and venues to act sensibly and use good judgment when complying with these regulations," said the spokesman.
“For example, companies that don't normally serve food can contract out with other local restaurants so they can do so and stay open.
"However, it is still prohibited to allow customers to bring food into the premises that has been purchased elsewhere to consume alcohol."
Only 1 percent of England is on the lowest level of restrictions, although few or no infections have occurred in many level 3 areas
London and Liverpool are ranked Tier 2, while only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are on the bottom tier