Covid: revellers in England gather outside pubs, bars and restaurants as lockdown rules ease

A number of lockdown restrictions in England were lifted on Monday which saw the reopening of outdoor hospitality, hairdressers and non-essential retail

Prior to outdoor hospitality opening back up in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged members of the public to “behave responsibly”.

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Johnson said: “I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember “hands, face, space and fresh air” to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”

Patrons flocked to their local pubs to enjoy a pint as restrictions eased in England (Photo: PA/contributed)

‘Raucous hysteria everywhere’

One person told the PA news agency that the atmosphere on Monday when patrons were able to enjoy a pint, was how they imagined “VE Day” to be.

They said: “It’s almost like watching Hogarth paintings come to life in 2021. There is a wonderfully raucous hysteria everywhere. It’s very celebratory.

“There is very little social distancing. A distinct sense that people feel the Covid restrictions have ended.”

As well as outdoor hospitality reopening, restrictions regarding non-essential retail and hairdressers were also lifted (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Tolga Akmen/Finnbarr Webster/Lindsey Parnaby/Cameron Smith/Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

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‘We must remain cautious’

Lawrence Young, a virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology at Warwick Medical School, described the reopening outdoor hospitality as “a joyous day”, but warned that people should still remain cautious.

He said: “The current reduction in cases and hospitalisations is not only due to the success of the vaccine rollout, but also the impact of lockdown in preventing virus spread.

The earliest date that more restrictions could be lifted in England is 18 May (Photo: PA)

“So while taking the opportunity to enjoy shopping and outside hospitality, we must remain cautious - the virus is still out there and very infectious.

“We can’t ignore what’s going on in the rest of the world - every other day new variants are being reported and infection is rife.”