Outdoor beer gardens and pavement cafes welcomed customers once again yesterday from all over England, with the first pints poured since the latest lockdown had been introduced.
Prior to outdoor hospitality opening back up in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged members of the public to “behave responsibly”.
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.”
‘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.”
‘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.
“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.”