Ireland

Pubs and barbers return on England's 'Super Saturday'

THE FIRST PINTS have been poured at pubs in England which can now reopen following months of closure as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Couples can get married and hairdressers have been allowed to welcome customers, alongside restaurants, bars and cinemas on so-called Super Saturday, which has seen the biggest relaxation of rules yet.

In Northern Ireland, hotels, bars and restaurants re-opened on Friday.

Despite the celebrations, UK ministers have urged the public not to get carried away.

Pubs were permitted to welcome customers from 6am but research suggests many of them will be keeping the shutters down for now.

Statistics from the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) have revealed 31% of bars, pubs and restaurants will stay closed today.

Chief executive Michael Kill called for more support for the industry from the Government and said: “Our members feel stuck in a bizarre tug of war between government, licensing and planning regulators and the police.

“But no-one knows which rope to pull and in which direction, leaving businesses stranded in the middle with no way to move forward and out of this mess.”

Health Secretary Matt 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 also said he would not “shirk” from shutting pubs and restaurants again, and imposing local lockdowns if needed.

He said: “I’m no killjoy, but the virus can still kill. I don’t want to see bars and pubs have to close again. I love going to the pub and enjoy a pint or two.”

The comments came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people not to “blow” progress in combating the spread of the disease made during the lockdown as he deployed the government’s new slogan “enjoy summer safely”.

coronavirus-sat-jul-4-2020 A member of staff at the reopening of the Shakespeares Head pub in Holborn. Source: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Yesterday, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the pandemic “is a long way from gone” as he urged the public to follow social-distancing rules as guidance is eased.

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Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, also warned of the danger of the “superspreading” of Covid-19 occurring in pubs.

Some couples also have not wasted any time before saying “I do” and two key workers got married just moments after the restrictions lifted.

Care home worker Jennifer Wilson and security guard Louise Arnold, both 22, married at the Peace Garden Pergola in the grounds of Runcorn Town Hall, Cheshire, in what was thought to be the first wedding after the updated Covid-19 guidelines came into force.

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.”

With reporting from Dominic McGrath

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