Great Britain

April 12 lockdown news UK: Brits queue for HOURS in the cold at pubs and shops as England celebrates eased Covid rules

DETERMINED Brits braved the cold today as England's pubs and shops reopened for the first time since January.

Today's milestone marked the second phase of the PM's four-step roadmap out of lockdown – including a cheeky loophole which means you can go INSIDE a pub.

Boozers welcomed punters back with open arms as rules eased from midnight this morning.

But some were forced to queue for hours to quench their thirst - while Primark hungry shoppers queued outside flagship stores from DAWN.

But spare a thought for Boris Johnson, after he cancelled his own plans to visit the pub and the barbers as a mark of respect to Prince Philip, who passed away on Friday aged 99.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers and theme parks, as well as restaurants with outdoor space are now open. 

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes can utilise any outdoor space available to them as a makeshift drinking and dining area - an initiative first mooted last June. 

Pub-goers will be able to soak up the sun in beer gardens across the UK, with a ‘mini-heatwave’ expected.

It comes as the single-dose Janssen vaccine is set to be approved in DAYS with the UK's fourth Covid jab expected to help widen the rollout to under-50s.

A decision by the health regulator is expected to be made within the next ten days - with the Government having already ordered 30 million doses of the lifesaving jab.

Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps has insisted foreign holidays will be able to resume "safely and sustainably" under new Government plans for a traffic light system for international travel.

How the traffic light system will work:

* Green: Passengers will not need to quarantine on return, but must take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on return to the UK

* Amber: Travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days, as well as taking a pre-departure test and two PCR tests

* Red: Passengers will have to pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as a pre-departure test and two PCR tests

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic...

  • SHOPPERS AND DRINKERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NEW FREEDOMS AS LOCKDOWN EASES

    Shoppers flocked to high streets and drinkers downed pints as coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the nation to "behave responsibly" as life took another step back towards normality, with indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos also welcoming customers back.

    People in Wales were also enjoying renewed freedoms from Monday, with non-essential retail reopened and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

    Remaining school pupils returned to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, in moves being echoed in Scotland as some pupils return from their Easter breaks.

    The "stay at home" order in Northern Ireland also ended as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors increased from six to 10.

  • GRAPHIC: UK COVID-19 DEATHS AND CASES PER DAY

  • COVENTRY PUB UNDER INVESTIGATION AFTER MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE QUEUED UP AT MIDNIGHT TO GAIN ENTRY

    A pub in Coventry is under investigation by the local council after a long queue of people arrived for its opening at midnight when coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased.

    Videos posted on social media showed more than 100 people lining the street outside the Oak Inn, near the city’s university, after it advertised plans to open its large outdoor space with heaters, marquees and blankets.

    A Coventry City Council spokeswoman confirmed to the PA news agency that the pub was under investigation and said: “People are beginning to enjoy the easing of restrictions and with the city beginning to reopen non-essential shops and hospitality venues from today, we would like to remind everyone about the importance of following the rules.

    “This includes social distancing and staying two metres apart, wearing face coverings in public and washing hands regularly when visiting hospitality venues. It is extremely important we continue to work together to slow the spread of Covid-19 and not undoing all our good work over the last few months.

    “We will be investigating any venue reported to not be following these rules or having difficulties with large queues or unmanageable amounts of visitors.”

  • JAB STATS

    A total of 33,445,922 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and April 11, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 197,053 on the previous day.

    NHS England said 27,107,590 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 36,599 on the previous day, while 6,338,332 were a second dose, an increase of 160,454.

  • BRITS WAIT QUEUED FOR TWO HOURS TODAY TO GET THEIR HANDS ON A MUCH-MISSED PINT

    PUBS have reopened in England for the first time in months, with punters queuing up for hours to get their hands on a poured pint.

    Wetherspoons’ Imerial Pub in Exeter saw thirsty Brits waiting outside for an estimated two hours as they battled to get into the popular beer garden.

    The line could be seen snaking around the pub’s entrance as youngsters waited patiently for their turn.

    Meanwhile, more than 100 students queued for just 20 tables at The Friendship Inn in Fallowfield, Manchester after the drinking hole reopened at midday.

  • UK COVID DEATHS HALVE IN A WEEK (CONTINUED...)

    Cases have dropped by 23 per cent in a fortnight to 3,568 infections compared to 4,645 on March 29.

    Since the latest national lockdown was introduced at the start of January, cases have plunged from almost 60,000 a day to an average of around 2,500 infections.

    The number of patients in hospital with Covid across the UK has fallen to around 3,000 from a peak of almost 40,000 in January.

    Deaths have plummeted from a peak seven-day average of 1,250 on Januaey 23 to around 30 today.

  • UK COVID DEATHS HALVE IN A WEEK WITH 13 FATALITIES AND 3,568 CASES IN LAST 24 HOURS AS SHOPS AND PUBS REOPEN

    CORONAVIRUS death in the UK have HALVED in the last week as the spread of the virus continues to slow.

    A total of 3,568 cases and 13 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours as Brits headed out to pubs and shops open for the first time since January in the latest easing of restrictions.

    Covid figures tend to be lower on Sundays and Mondays due to a lag in recording cases and deaths over the weekend.

    The 13 deaths is 50 per cent down on the 26 fatalities recorded on March 29.

    Deaths fell into single figures for the first time since last September yesterday.

  • ITALY REGISTERS 9,789 NEW COVID CASES AND 358 DEATHS

    Italy reported 358 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday against 331 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 9,789 from 15,746.

    Since the beginning of the outbreak in February last year, the country has registered 114,612 deaths linked to COVID-19 - the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.

    The country has reported 3.78 million cases to date.

    Patients in hospital with COVID-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 27,329 on Monday, up from 27,251 a day earlier.

    There were 167 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 175 on Sunday. The total number of intensive care patients slightly rose to 3,593 from a previous 3,585.


  • PM CHOOSES NOT TO ATTEND PHILIP’S FUNERAL BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS GUEST LIMITS

    Boris Johnson will not attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral to allow for the attendance of as many family members as possible during coronavirus restrictions, No 10 has said.

    The Prime Minister was understood to have been expected to attend the ceremony for Philip by the royals, but offered to step aside with the number of guests allowed limited to 30.

    The duke’s funeral will take place in Windsor Castle on April 17, but it will be unlike typical royal send-offs, with the public being told to stay away because of the pandemic.

    A No 10 spokesman said: “As a result of the Coronavirus regulations, only 30 people can attend the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

    “The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday.”

  • SURGE IN JOURNEYS AS LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS EASE

    Transport usage surged across England as coronavirus restrictions were partially lifted.

    Road journeys in London at 8am on Monday took an average of 42% longer compared with free-flow conditions, according to location technology firm TomTom.

    That is up from 32% at that time on April 6, the first working day of last week.

    Other cities to experience rises over the same period included Brighton (22% to 28%), Birmingham (22% to 27%), Bristol (25% to 33%), Manchester (27% to 37%) and Leeds (23% to 51%).

  • PENT-UP DEMAND

    Shoppers are flocking to Regents Street in London for the first time this year

    Pent-up demand will see £1.5billion — that’s £2.7million a minute — spent in venues and reopening attractions between 9am and 6pm.

    Work leave requests for today are up almost 20 per cent.

    Last time non-essential retailers opened up was after the second lockdown last year.

    Stores reopened on December 2, 2020 and many had extended opening hours to make up for lost shopping time and ensure covid safety.

  • LOVELY PINTS

    Pictured: John Witts enjoys a drink at the reopening of the Figure of Eight pub, in Birmingham, as England takes another step back towards normality with the further easing of lockdown restrictions.

  • PUB UNDER INVESTIGATION

    A pub in Coventry is under investigation by the local council after a long queue of people arrived for its opening at midnight when coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased.

    Videos posted on social media showed more than 100 people lining the street outside the Oak Inn, near the city’s university, after it advertised plans to open its large outdoor space with heaters, marquees and blankets.

    A Coventry City Council spokeswoman confirmed to the PA news agency that the pub was under investigation and said: “People are beginning to enjoy the easing of restrictions and with the city beginning to reopen non-essential shops and hospitality venues from today, we would like to remind everyone about the importance of following the rules.

    “This includes social distancing and staying two metres apart, wearing face coverings in public and washing hands regularly when visiting hospitality venues. It is extremely important we continue to work together to slow the spread of Covid-19 and not undoing all our good work over the last few months.

    “We will be investigating any venue reported to not be following these rules or having difficulties with large queues or unmanageable amounts of visitors.”

  • JAB STATS

    A total of 33,445,922 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and April 11, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 197,053 on the previous day.

    NHS England said 27,107,590 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 36,599 on the previous day, while 6,338,332 were a second dose, an increase of 160,454.

  • TWO HOUR QUEUE

    PUBS have reopened in England for the first time in months, with punters queuing up for hours to get their hands on a poured pint.

    Wetherspoons’ Imerial Pub in Exeter saw thirsty Brits waiting outside for an estimated two hours as they battled to get into the popular beer garden.

    The line could be seen snaking around the pub’s entrance as youngsters waited patiently for their turn.

    Meanwhile, more than 100 students queued for just 20 tables at The Friendship Inn in Fallowfield, Manchester after the drinking hole reopened at midday.

  • TERROR WARNING AS LOCKDOWN EASES

    Terrorists could have a "greater opportunity to operate" as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased, a senior police officer has warned.

    Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist, one of Counter Terrorism Policing's senior national coordinators responsible for making sure the UK is protected from such threats, urged the public and businesses to "be alert" to more than just the dangers of Covid-19 this summer.

    According to a police statement, he believes "the easing of lockdown restrictions could provide a greater opportunity for terrorists to operate".

    The terrorism threat level is currently listed as "substantial", meaning an attack is likely.

  • CAUTION URGED AS LOCKDOWN IS EASED FOR SHOPS AND PUB GARDENS IN ENGLAND

    Caution has been urged as a major easing of England’s lockdown kicks in today.

    It will allow pubs and restaurants to serve customers outside and hairdressers and non-essential shops to resume business.

    Indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos will also reopen on Monday as lives take another step back towards normality.

    However, social mixing indoors will remain heavily restricted, with around 40% of adults yet to receive their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

    Professor Peter Horby, a senior scientist advising the Government, warned on Sunday that the remaining rules must be abided by to minimise the effects of a future “rebound” in cases.

    Businesses and citizens eagerly anticipated the renewed freedoms, but any fanfare for the easing of restrictions has been somewhat muted by the national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.

  • DOWN THE HATCH

    Brits are taking full advantage of the easing of restrictions, with millions flocking to pubs across the country.

  • SUNNY DRINKS

    Pictured: Customers sit outside bars and restaurants on Canal Street in the Gay village in Manchester.

    Restaurants, bars and pubs can open and serve people who can be seated outside.

    Millions of people in England will get their first chance in months for haircuts, casual shopping and restaurant meals on Monday, as the government takes the next step on its coronavirus lockdown-lifting road map.

  • BRITS URGED TO RAISE A GLASS TO PRINCE PHILIP AS THE NATION’S PUBS – INCLUDING WINDSOR’S DUKE OF EDINBURGH – REOPEN

    THE landlords of the Duke of Edinburgh pub have raised a toast to Prince Philip and urged the rest of England to do the same today as the country unlocks.

    Nick Tilt and Annie Andrews held up their glasses outside their boozer in Windsor — just a few miles from the Castle.

    Staff and locals joined them as they paid tribute to the Queen’s husband, who died on Friday at the age of 99.

    They gathered as the pub, like many others, prepared to reopen today — to provide outdoor service.

    Windsor-born Annie, 65, said it was “fantastic” to raise a glass to the Duke – who was fond of beer — and to “let out a big cheers!”

  • FULL RETURN OF SCHOOLS AND REOPENING OF RETAIL IN WALES FROM TODAY

    Schools in Wales fully reopened today, along with remaining non-essential retail, and some travel restrictions have been lifted.

    Close-contact services will reopen and university campuses will welcome back students for blended face-to-face and online learning.

    Wedding venue “show-arounds” by appointment will also be allowed, as part of the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.

    While restrictions on travel in and out of Wales will be lifted on Monday, people will not be able to journey to countries outside of the Common Travel area – the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland – without a reasonable excuse.

    Last week, the Welsh Government announced it would be accelerating parts of its lockdown exit programme, with First Minister Mark Drakeford saying the “improvements” in the public health situation and the ongoing vaccination programme meant changes could be made to previously announced plans.

  • SURGE IN JOURNEYS AS LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS EASE

    Transport usage surged across England as coronavirus restrictions were partially lifted.

    Road journeys in London at 8am on Monday took an average of 42% longer compared with free-flow conditions, according to location technology firm TomTom.

    That is up from 32% at that time on April 6, the first working day of last week.

    Other cities to experience rises over the same period included Brighton (22% to 28%), Birmingham (22% to 27%), Bristol (25% to 33%), Manchester (27% to 37%) and Leeds (23% to 51%).

  • TWO HOURS WAIT FOR PUB

    The keenly awaited first day of Lockdown Freedom saw the beer garden of Wetherspoon's Imperial Pub in Exeter packed out as an estimated 2 hour queue forms to enter the pub at Monday lunchtime.

  • PRIMARK QUEUES

    Long queues are still being seen for Primark stores around the country.

    The retail giant has reopened 160 shops in England and Wales today, with opening hours extended across almost all stores.

    This week, stores will open for two extra hours per day on average – typically an hour earlier and later.

  • THREE CHEERS

    Customers cheered as the first pints were served at the UK’s biggest pub on Monday after coronavirus restrictions were eased.

    Pippa Ingram, 51, and Sue Bell, 55, were presented with the first drinks on a chilly morning in Ramsgate, Kent at the Royal Victoria Pavilion, believed to be the largest in the country.

    As the pints were brought to their table Ms Ingram celebrated getting a drink “from a proper pub!”

    She added: “Absolutely delicious. It’s not gonna last long at all! That is banging.”

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