England has first night out in three months after lockdown eases

England has first night out in three months after lockdown eases
Englanders had their first night out in three months. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: People across England experienced their first night out in three months after coronavirus restrictions eased.

Hospitality venues such as restaurants and pubs as well as hairdressers, theme parks and cinemas reopened with strict social distancing rules.

England’s chief medical officer said the latest step was not “risk-free” and ministers urged caution.

The first night out in three months comes as landmarks and buildings across the country were lit up to celebrate the NHS.

Buildings were lit up blue in honour of the tens of thousands of people who have died during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. Source: AFP

People were also encouraged to place lights in their window on Saturday to remember those who have died from the virus.

Downing Street was lit up blue while other public buildings including Royal Albert Hall, the Shard and the Wembley Arch and Blackpool Tower were also illuminated.

Restrictions on the hospitality sector remain in place in Scotland and Wales, while in Northern Ireland, pubs have been able to open since Friday.

People in England are being allowed to stay the night away from home for the first time since lockdown started, with campsites and holiday accommodation also reopening.

Police in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset reported gridlock on the roads on Saturday – including a high volume of caravan owners heading to the coast.

Despite the relaxation of restrictions, some 30% of restaurants, bars and pubs have stayed shut, amid fears for safety and concerns over how to implement social distancing guidance, according to the Night-Time Industries Association.

“The government have not really been helpful with their guidance, leaving it to the last minute in a lot of cases,” Campaign for Real Ale national chairman Nik Antona said, adding that some pubs “want to see what’s going to happen” before opening their doors.

While pubs in Scotland remain closed one publican in Berwick-upon-Tweed claimed 70% of his pub’s bookings were from over the border.

Source: PA MEDIA

A different scene was in Leicester. The streets of the city were largely deserted as pubs and other venues remain closed after the city became the first to be subject to a local lockdown on Monday, following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Other rule changes that came into effect on Saturday include allowing two households to meet indoors or outside, including for overnight stays – although they have to maintain social distancing.

People in England are still urged to stay 2m apart. But the new “one metre plus” guidance means they can get closer if they use “mitigation” measures, such as not sitting face-to-face and use face coverings.

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