The streets of Dublin were deserted today on St Patrick’s Day after the parade was cancelled, but plenty of English revellers defied the government’s warnings as they visited pubs to celebrate.
A lonely leprechaun was was pictured cutting a sorrowful figure as he traipsed through the streets of the capital city, after pub closures prevented the annual celebration.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, pubs were shut, and only a few coffee shops and fast food restaurants were open, as the usually lively streets became eerily quiet on what is usually a raucous party on the island of Ireland.
It was in stark contrast to images last year that showed the Dublin streets packed to the rafters, as the parade coursed through the city.
Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar announced all parades and festivals in the Republic of Ireland would not go ahead in early March.
Meanwhile revellers hit bars in Liverpool this afternoon despite scientists warning that ‘social distancing’ was necessary in a bid to quell the number of Covid-19 fatalities.
Hundreds were seen at the city’s Concert Square dressed in the Guinness hats and their finest emerald attire despite Ireland itself cancelling all public celebrations.
St Patrick’s Day 2020 in Dublin: A man celebrating St Patrick’s Day strolls in the O’Connell Street area of Dublin today as St Patrick’s Day festivities are cancelled
St Patrick’s Day 2019 in Dublin: Participants during the 2019 where the streets were backed with revellers enjoying the annual celebration
Revellers hit bars in Liverpool this afternoon despite scientists warning that ‘social distancing’ was necessary in a bid to quell the number of Covid-19 fatalities
The large scale St Patrick’s Day parades may have been cancelled, but that did not stop many creating their own festive fun (pictured, revellers out in Liverpool today)
Revellers in concert square in Liverpool enjoying St Patricks day even though the government has given instructions to limit mass gatherings regarding coronavirus
Revellers appeared in good spirits as they hit bars in Liverpool today to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – despite Ireland itself banning public gatherings
Guinness was flowing as revellers hit Concert Square in Liverpool today for an afternoon of revelry despite government guidance on ‘social distancing’
Revellers wore Guinness hats as they enjoyed St Patrick’s Day in Liverpool today. Celebrations are likely to get underway across the country
Revellers in Concert Square in Liverpool enjoying St Patrick’s Day even though the government has given instructions to limit mass gatherings regarding Coronavirus
The Prime Minister urged people to stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and ‘other such social venues’. But that didn’t stop defiant St Patrick’s Day revellers in Liverpool
Two excited revellers enjoy some drinks while celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Liverpool today amid growing concerns over coronavirus
St. Patrick’s Day parades in towns and villages big and small were cancelled a week ago. The flagship gathering in Dublin typically draws some 500,000 revellers each year including many from abroad, kicking off the tourist season. But in the UK today there were hundreds enjoying the celebrations
There was a sea of green in Liverpool today as hundreds went out to enjoy St Patrick’s Day despite advice against such gatherings
There were dozens of St Patrick’s Day green hats in Liverpool today as many went out to celebrate the event
Revellers in Concert Square in Liverpool enjoying St Patrick’s Day even though the government has given instructions to limit mass gatherings regarding coronavirus
It comes after defiant party-goers last night hit nightclubs across London, Newcastle and Manchester just hours after Boris Johnson urged people to stay at home where possible.
In Ireland, despite the cancelled public events, small numbers of European tourists turned out on O’Connell Street in Dublin where the city’s main parade usually takes place.
Meanwhile, thousands took to Twitter to share their celebrations under the hashtag virtual parade.
Amongst the most amusing videos was a farmer who decided it was his mission to cheer up the nation and set about filming his own farm parade – complete with horse and cow.
Elsewhere, a young girl can be see donning all green and doing an Irish jig, while other children pose alongside their St Patrick’s Day-themed houses.
But outside, just one small religious parade took place at Saul, Co Down, where social distancing was observed.
Instead, church bells across Dublin rang out at 11am to act as a reminder of the faith and as an expression of social solidarity.
Despite government warnings however, some nightclubs will remain open in the UK.
Popworld in Essex told customers it would remain open on Fridays and Saturdays as normal, while Walkabout in Chelmsford assured part goers it would be business as usual, albeit with different opening hours.
People enjoying an evening at a JD Wetherspoon in The Mile Castle, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Popworld in Essex told customers it would remain open on Fridays and Saturdays as normal
People were not worried about coronavirus at Cirque Le Soir in Soho last night
What are the ‘drastic’ plans to respond to the coronavirus pandemic set out by the Government?
- The Prime Minister urged people to stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and ‘other such social venues’.
- Boris Johnson has also said ‘now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel’
- Mass gatherings will no longer be supported by emergency workers
- If one person in a house has symptoms, including a continuous cough or fever, the whole family should stay at home for 14 days
- The period of self-isolation for people who live on their own remains at seven days
- In coming days, everyone classed as vulnerable will be asked to ensure they are ‘largely shielded from social contact’ for around 12 weeks, or possibly longer
Drinkers were also seen in full swing at Cirque Le Soir in Soho, London and Walkabout Chelmsford, Essex.
American actor William Shatner also held an audience with fans at the Hammersmith Apollo yesterday evening, after Boris Johnson addressed the nation.
This comes as the government issued a stark warning to Britons, urging them to avoid social situations unless absolutely necessary.
In a report, scientists warned that around 250,000 people would die in Britain as a result of the coronavirus outbreak unless more draconian measures are adopted to protect the population.
The Imperial College Covid-19 response team – which has been advising ministers – said that even with the ‘social distancing’ plans set out by the Government, the health system will be ‘overwhelmed many times over’.
In its latest report, it said the only ‘viable strategy’ was a Chinese-style policy of ‘suppression’ involving the social distancing of the entire population.
In response, some of the Capital’s top clubs told customers they would close temporarily to protect public health.
Ministry of Sound nightclub in the Capital last night announced it would temporarily close, as did Egg London and Fabric London.
Drinkers were also seen in full swing at Cirque Le Soir in Soho, London
Tourists try to get into a closed Temple Bar pub in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day
These chaps took to social media to defy the ban as they enjoyed pints in a pub
These St Patrick’s Day drinkers were out hitting the alcohol last night in Manchester
People continued to hit the sauce for a ‘girly night out’ at a Wetherspoon last night
Wetherspoon at The Mile Castle in Newcastle was packed with drinkers last night
The Prime Minister yesterday told Britons to work from home and avoid social gatherings where necessary.
In a dramatic u-turn, Boris Johnson acknowledged that ‘drastic action’ was required to quell the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has killed 55 and infected more than 1,500 throughout the country.
Addressing the nation, the Prime Minister announced millions of the elderly and most vulnerable will need to ‘shield’ themselves from social contact and stay at home for three months from this weekend.
The new measures – including bans on social gatherings – could need to stay in place for around 18 months until a vaccine becomes available, the Imperial College London researchers said.
Pressure is ramping up on the Government to help the hospitality industry as it faces a ‘dire’ situation during the coronavirus pandemic, with Boris Johnson’s approach condemned as ‘staggeringly reckless’.
Industry leaders have warned firms will go out of business without urgent state help to get through the next few months.
High-profile figures including chefs Simon Rimmer and Raymond Blanc have joined calls for the position to be made clear after the Prime Minister told people to stay away from bars and restaurants but stopped short of ordering entertainment venues to close.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has also warned most firms will not have the right cover allowing them to claim compensation if they are forced to shut.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced that the UK was going to war with the coronavirus – people were urged to work from home, not to socialise and to self-isolate if anyone in their house becomes ill
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out a new package of support on Tuesday afternoon for businesses hit by the outbreak.
Many have said while they understand the need to protect public health, the lack of an enforced shutdown means businesses cannot claim insurance, a move described by food critic Jay Rayner as ‘staggeringly reckless’.
He tweeted: ‘Let me add my voice to the justifiably outraged clamour of those furious at the govt for insisting hospitality and entertainment industries shut down without legally mandating them to do so, meaning they can’t claim insurance. Staggeringly reckless.’
Blanc claimed the hospitality industry is being ‘sacrificed’ and ‘battered’, accusing Mr Johnson of a lack of clear direction, while Rimmer said it will not take long for his sites to go out of business.
He said businesses across the spectrum from ‘humble bistros’ to Michelin star establishments have been left ‘in… no man’s land’.
Another industry figure said a lack of clear financial help was effectively condemning the industry to death, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the Government to follow the example of other countries by providing a clear financial aid package.
An ABI spokesman said: ‘Irrespective of whether or not the Government order closure of a business, the vast majority of firms won’t have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed by the Coronavirus.
‘Standard business interruption cover – the type the majority of businesses purchase – does not include forced closure by authorities.’
The British Beer and Pub Association has written to Mr Johnson, demanding urgent steps are taken to prevent mass job losses and permanent pub closures.
The association’s chief executive Emma McClarkin said the industry is facing ‘an existential crisis’ as a result of the new guidance, insisting thousands of jobs will be lost without financial help from the Government.
She said: ‘Forced pub closures without a meaningful support package will have a catastrophic financial and social impact.’
The letter calls for the Government to cancel all business rates payments for six months, as well as all tax payments including PAYE, VAT and corporation tax for pubs and hospitality businesses.
It also calls for the cancellation of beer duty payments for six months, and the postponement of the planned national minimum and living wage increases due in April.
Mr Khan told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘What the Government has got to do is one of two things – either clarify and confirm it’s a ban so these businesses can claim for insurance or make sure these businesses are given some help, whether that’s cash flow issues, help with rates, with rent, with charges.’
At a press conference in Downing Street on Monday afternoon, Mr Johnson advised: ‘You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.’
Chief medical officer for England Chris Witty says the race to beating to coronavirus pandem is a ‘marathon not a sprint’. Professor Witty is pictured arriving at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall on Monday
Asked whether pubs, restaurants and theatres were being ordered to close, the Prime Minister said: ‘What we are doing is giving very strong advice that public venues such as theatres should no longer be visited.’
He said enforcement powers are there if needed, but added: ‘I don’t believe it will be necessary to use those powers.’
Mr Johnson added: ‘We are going to make sure that we do everything we can to give them the liquidity that they need.’
Carluccio’s chief executive Mark Jones said help must be put in place immediately.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘To do that to an industry without any fiscal support whatsoever condemns us to death effectively.’
Mr Jones said ‘enormous state intervention’ is needed, adding: ‘We are days away from large-scale closures of restaurants throughout the UK.’
Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said the new advice was a ‘crippling blow to the UK’s creative industries’ which mean they may not be able to claim compensation for the ‘huge losses’ they face.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the guidance left the industry in ‘limbo with no recourse to insurance’, describing it as ‘catastrophic’ for businesses and jobs.
Danny Kwiatkowski, owner of The Rose in Bermondsey, south-east London, told the PA news agency he was ‘astounded’ at the lack of support for employees.
A Change.org petition calling for the Government to provide clear financial and practical support and to set out a timeline ‘so businesses can prepare logistically and rationally for times ahead’ had gained more than 73,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.