Britons returned to the nation’s pubs and bars today for a socially distanced drink after thousands seized the opportunity to celebrate at their favourite drinking establishments on what was widely dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.
Today, punters began to trickle into beer gardens, restaurants and outdoor spaces across parts of the UK, including London’s Soho, Liverpool and Manchester, to enjoy a pint in the sunshine after new regulations allowing pubs in England to reopen came into force yesterday.
The scenes come after social distancing was declared to be in tatters today after jubilant drinkers, drunkenness, brawls and vomiting returned to the country’s nightlife as millions of pints were poured on yesterday’s night of heavy boozing.
In London, eager revellers were spotted in close proximity to each other as they sat outside bars and pubs in the capital to enjoy the highly-anticipated return of their pubs.
Pub-goers enjoy a drink outside a pub in Soho, London, today as hundreds flock to the nation’s drinking establishments following a night of heavy drinking
Groups of people congregate outside All Bar One in Leicester Square, London, today as Britons continue to enjoy their new freedoms
Outside one restaurant in Soho, London, people sit outside and the a few pints and the sunshine after months in lockdown
A group of friends decided to take a shots of tequila and enjoy a few pints as they begin their night out in Manchester City centre today
The group of sit outside with their pints of beers and their shots of tequila and pints after pubs were finally allowed to open in Manchester last night
Britons are seen enjoying a pint outside the Prince Harry pub in Windsor today as the crowds died down from Super Saturday
Others were spotted seated at tables and enjoying a tray of pints and shots outside restaurants in Manchester.
Elsewhere in Poole Quay, Dorset, groups of people gathered outside the popular Poole Arms to enjoy a drink with their families and friends.
Meanwhile in Liverpool, football fans enjoyed a drink outside Hotel Anfield before watching Liverpool v Aston Villa in Anfield.
Despite the chaos last night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning hailed the biggest easing of restrictions a ‘success’ and claimed the drinkers had ‘very, very, largely acted responsibly’.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge Mr Hancock said: ‘Very very largely people have acted responsibly and this balanced message is so important. People should enjoy summer safely and of course the emphasis is both on enjoy and safely.
‘Of course everybody knows that we are doing everything we can to get back to normal but only to do that when it’s safe to do so.
‘Overall I’m pleased with what happened yesterday. It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely, social distancing.’
He added: ‘My overriding message to people is yes enjoy the new freedoms but do so safely following social distancing. It is so important and even the basics like washing you hands.’
Earlier today a senior police officer predicted a fresh coronavirus onslaught after being confronted with ‘pub fights, drunken violence and drunken, drugged-up fools’ last night.
Police Sergeant Richard Cooke of the West Midlands force tweeted: ‘Just got home after a long shift late shift peppered with pub fights, domestic violence & drunken drugged up fools. If today was anything to go by the second wave won’t be long in the making!’
People walk past the Arts Theatre in Soho, London, today after pubs and bars across England were finally able to open on July 4
Michelle Kerr, landlady at the Poole Arms in Pool Quay, Dorset, walks outside with a tray of drinks as cafes and pubs reopen this weekend
A group of pub-goers enjoy a drink outside the Poole Arms in Dorest today as hundreds descend upon the nation’s drinking venues
The Critchell family enjoy their first pint out at the Poole Arms on a bustling Poole Quay as cafes and pubs finally begin to reopen
People sit at tables and try to follow social distancing measures as they enjoy a drink at the popular drinking establishment All All Bar One in London
In Liverpool, a group of football fans gather to watch Liverpool v Aston Villa at Hotel Anfield after months in lockdown
A bartender wears a protective face visor as she pulls a pint for customers at Hotel Anfield before the match between Liverpool and Aston Villa
In Kent a group of people are spotted enjoying the sunshine and warm weather and they sit down for a drink at an outdoor space
Revellers post for the camera as they sit down outside a pub in Soho, London, today to begin their night out in the capital
Crowds of people sit outside bars and pubs in Soho just a day after the government allowed drinking establishments in the country to open
Britons enjoy the newly reopened pubs in Brighton on the second day lockdown restrictions were eased across the nation
One man is seen wearing a face shield as he works in a packed Brighton on Sunday, as dozens rushed to pubs and eateries
His account was mirrored by Police Federation Chairman John Apter, who recalled dealing with ‘naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks’ while on duty in Southampton.
He added ‘What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t/won’t socially distance. It was a busy night but the shift managed to cope. I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted.’
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning hailed the biggest easing of restrictions a ‘success’ and claimed the drinkers had ‘very, very, largely acted responsibly’.
Yet the government’s one-metre plus rule quickly evaporated in the most vibrant areas last night such as London’s Soho, which became ‘out of control’ as thousands spilled on to the streets.
Experts said Britons sank up to 15million pints yesterday, as revellers shrugged off the miserable weather and headed to pubs and bars to enjoy their first taste of a draught pint since late March.
The government has come under fire for lifting restrictions too early while Leicester is still battling its own local outbreak, with many opting to stay at home for fear of driving a second nationwide wave.
Pub goers were also seen stationed outside The Victory pub in East Sussex as Briton regained some sense of normality
Others enjoyed a pint on picnic tables near the beach in Brighton today after lockdown was lifted across much of Britain
Women walk past signs reading ‘Please no hugs, no handshakes during coronavirus season’ in Battersea, London today
Others returned to Covent Garden, London for a second day at bars, restaurants and pubs after the easing of restrictions
Central London (pictured today) had been packed last night on the first evening pubs and bars reopened to the public
Families queue outside The Hope Pub in Wandsworth Common today, which opened on Saturday for bookings only
In Manchester, Britons didn’t let the rain put them off enjoying a pint with their friends as they headed to a much quieter city centre
A couple is pictured outside the FLOK Bar in Manchester to enjoy a quiet drink as the crowds died down from ‘Super Saturday’
Social distancing markers are seen outside Cane and Grain in the northern quarter of Manchester this afternoon
Britons huddled under umbrellas as they headed out for a pint on the second day pubs could reopen across the nation
Customers are seen making contactless payments in Manchester as staff wear face masks and gloves this afternoon
While much of the evening passed peacefully, paramedics were seen tending to inebriated revellers collapsed on the floor, while other pub-goers were seen vomiting in the street.
A massive brawl erupted at the Three Tuns pub in Tamworth shortly after the first pints were pulled. Fists flew as about a dozen men scuffled in the beer garden to the horror of witnesses.
In London, Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid some venues decided to shut early, yet he said that the night went relatively smoothly.
The police chief said: ‘The majority of the public complied with social distancing guidelines and remained vigilant.
‘While some areas were notably busy such as Soho and Portobello Road, we are pleased there were no significant issues or incidents in the capital.
‘A small number of premises decided to close early following advice from officers due to crowding and social distancing issues and we thank them for their responsible actions.’
He urged the public not to throw away the past three months in wresting down the virus by risking a second wave
Forces across the country have reported a busy night for constables, with police in Devon and Cornwall saying they received more than 1,000 reports last night, most of which were ‘drink-related’.
LONDON: Adherence to the government’s one-metre plus rule quickly evaporated in the most vibrant areas, such as Soho in London which became ‘out of control’ as thousands spilled on to the streets
MANCHESTER: A man is detained by police on Princess Street in Manchester City Centre on Super Saturday as the nation’s pubs reopened
LEEDS: A reveller in Leeds curled up on the pavement is tended to by the police as the celebrations for the reopening of pubs continued well into the night
NEWCASTLE: Revellers enjoy their first night out visiting pubs and bars in the vibrant city centre of Newcastle last night
SHEFFIELD: A man fronts up to officers in Sheffield which came alive on Saturday as pubs rolled up their shutters for the first time in months
Paramedics from St Johns Ambulance help treat some party-goers in London on Super Saturday last night
Police were on patrol last night in Soho, London, as large crowds gathered there to drink on the first night of lockdown easing
Revellers in Leeds toast in the new wave of freedoms and head out on the town on Super Saturday when the pubs reopened
This taxi faced a wall of drunk revellers as the driver attempted to negotiate through the streets of Soho, London, last night
Plenty of revellers were seen embracing, including these two pub-goers in the streets of Soho, London last night
Cars struggled to get through the crowds of people in the street in Soho, London, last night as revellers drank in the street
Police handcuff a man in Newcastle amid Super Saturday celebrations which got under way in the city last night
A policeman keeps watch over the large crowds that gathered on the street in the middle of Soho in London
The force tweeted last night: ‘We have just topped 1000 police logs for today with two hours left to go. The majority of reports this evening have been linked to drink related disorder and anti-social behaviour.’
Officers in West Yorkshire were called to a ‘safety concern’ at a village pub near Bradford, while crowds flocked to a rave in Leeds’ Hyde Park.
As drink flowed and tempers flared, four people were arrested in Brentwood High Street, Essex, following a ‘disturbance’, while in Nottinghamshire, some pub owners took the decision to close up after incidents of anti-social behaviour.
More than 200 revellers ignore police warnings to attend illegal rave in woods
Police broke up an illegal rave in a forest last night where more than 200 revellers had gathered to party on Super Saturday.
Officers cleared the crowds from a wooded area near Eston, Teesside, with the help of a police helicopter.
Cleveland Police scolded the revellers for heaping an unnecessary ‘burden’ on the NHS during the pandemic.
Superintendent Emily Harrison said: ‘This incident is unacceptable and we won’t tolerate illegal raves happening in Cleveland.
‘Raves like these pose potential safety concerns for those attending, they are illegal and attending such an event places an unnecessary burden on our NHS colleagues who have been working hard to try to keep us all safe during the ongoing pandemic.’
Video from the night, that appears to have been posted on Snapchat, shows a swarm of youngsters yelling as they brandish beer cans and bottles.
Cleveland Police broke up an ‘illegal rave’ in a forest on Teesside, where they drove out more than 200 people with a police helicopter.
West Midlands police made four arrests connected to pubs and bars and said they had very few calls regarding any trouble – although received a high number of fight-related 999 calls, while also seeing a spike in domestic abuse reports.
And worryingly in Leicester, where a local lockdown has been enforced due to a spike in coronavirus cases, police called on ‘more officers on duty than on New Year’s Eve’ – to prevent people attempting to sneak out of the city in order to reach the pubs outside the lockdown zone.
Down the road, in picturesque Market Harborough, which is not part of the local lockdown zone, police last night authorised special powers to disperse groups of people following anti-social behaviour and ‘low-level disorder’.
In Southampton, Mr Apter said: ‘It was an incredibly busy night, we all had our fingers crossed, which is not how we should be policing… The vast majority was sensible… It wasn’t the carnage so many of us predicted.
He added: ‘There were some pockets of resistance and when we were trying to educate people, we did get some push-back, some abuse, cameras thrust in our faces telling us what they thought of us.’
In Soho, police watched the crowds from boxed-in raised platforms, but did little to disperse the crowds.
Rafal Liszewski, 36, a store manager at Clonezone on Soho’s Old Compton Street in London described crowds in the area on Saturday night after pubs were allowed to trad again as ‘out of control’.
‘Saturday started very easy. But you could feel tension in the air.
‘Around 1pm crowds started to arrive… quickly everything got out of control and by 8-9 pm it was a proper street party with people dancing and drinking.
‘Barely anyone was wearing masks and nobody respected social distancing… to be honest with that many people on one street it was physically impossible.’
Mr Liszewski, who is originally from Poland but now lives in Finchley, estimated there was between two and three thousand people on the street but his shop was only allowing seven customers at a time.
Rubbish piled up on the streets of Soho as drinkers continued to party into the early hours of Sunday.
Marc Foley-Comer said the bars he went to in Soho on Saturday night had ‘excellent safety measures’ and social distancing in place, but the scenes outside resembled London’s Pride celebrations.
Soho’s streets were crammed yesterday and police watched the activity from raised platforms
Rubbish piled up on the streets of Soho as drinkers continued to party into the early hours of Sunday
Women eat takeaways in Newcastle, which last night saw crowds of people descend on pubs to celebrate their reopening
A couple sit down on the pavement in Leeds, where Super Saturday celebrations were in full swing last night amid the reopening of pubs
Crowds descended on to Hyde Park in Leeds for a rave last night as social distancing rules went out of the window
These pub-goers danced in the rubbish-strewn streets of Soho, London, last night, where revellers had dumped plastic cups and litter in the street
MANCHESTER: : Two couples walk past bars on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester after the road was closed to make space for outdoor drinking
It wasn’t just people in Soho having all the fun. In Clapham, in London, hundreds of people also took to the streets for a drink on the first night of pubs reopening
Despite the miserable weather yesterday, revellers across the country (Newcastle pictured) were undettered and headed out to the pub
Bar Soho in Soho, London, was one of the popular destinations for revellers, who danced in the streets last night
Revellers in Clapham, London enjoyed a night in the pubs and bars as pubs reopened yesterday for the first time since lockdown began
Revellers in Clapham in London used beer kegs as seats as they enjoyed a pint on the first night of pubs and bars reopening
Crowds gathered in their numbers in Soho in London, where there are a number of bars on each side of the street
The government has urged people to maintain social distancing and limit the number of people from different households to six, while gatherings of more than 30 people are still banned
Police tried to keep order in Soho, London, last night, as hundreds of drunk revellers partied in the streets on the first night of pubs reopening
People in Newcastle last night amid jubilant Super Saturday celebrations when the pubs finally reopened after three months shuttered
Officers attempted to keep revellers out of the road to allow cars to pass through the streets in Soho, London, last night
‘It was packed… it was like it was Pride – and very chaotic and people were pretty drunk but the police were en-force and doing a good job.
‘We decided to leave as it was too busy and too risky still… there was no social distancing.’
The guidance from the government allows groups from two households to gather inside pubs while maintaining one metre of social distancing from others, and groups of up to six from different households to gather outdoors.
The Prime Minister urged restraint and ahead of the lockdown easing warned people not to undo the hard work in wrestling down the infection rate.
Health experts fear Britain is still at risk of a second wave of coronavirus with the R number between 0.7 and 0.9 for the whole country and feared to be creeping above one in London.
A further 67 new coronavirus deaths were announced yesterday – the lowest Saturday tally since lockdown began, bringing the UK’s total deaths from Covid-19 to 44,198 – and there were 624 further positive coronavirus cases.
Police in Soho, London, used a raise platform to keep watch over the drunk revellers last night as crowds gathered for the first time since lockdown began
Police patrolled the streets of Soho, London, last night and spoke to revellers as they gathered outside Bar Soho
Pedicabs taxied people around the streets of Soho in London last night as cars struggled to get through the crowds of people in the streets
Police patrolled the streets of Soho in London where hundreds gathered to finally party again after months of waiting
Borough Market in London, near to the Shard, was another popular hot spot for pub-goers who gathered there both in the day and at night
A reveller falls over into the road in Newcastle last night on the day pubs and restaurants were finally allowed to reopen
Police have created a vantage point over the area to keep watch on revellers tonight, on the first night pubs have opened since lockdown began
Revellers in Soho get into the spirit of things on the first night of pubs and bars reopening since lockdown began in March
A man waves to friends above the crowd in the street outside of the bars in an area of Soho in London last night
Police are on patrol in London’s Borough Market as revellers continue to drink into the evening of the first day of pubs reopening
Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientific adviser who has set up a rival Independent Sage, this morning said he believed ministers were lifting restrictions too soon.
He forecast that another 27,000 people could die of Covid-19 in the UK with the current rate of lockdown easing.
He told Sky News: ‘Britain as a whole should demand zero Covid UK. 27,000 excess deaths are likely between now and next April.
‘If the expectation by the chief medical officer that he would be surprised and delighted if the UK is in the same place next spring then we would still have about 2/3000 new infections each day, then the amount of deaths would follow that.
He added: ‘This is almost entirely preventable, unacceptable it’s immoral, it is best for economic recovery. The quicker we can can get down to zero Covid, the quicker we can get economic opening across the UK.
‘It looks as if the policy is to maintain the current level of about 3,000 new infections a day across England while Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland are heading towards net zero.’
Speaking after the pubs reopened yesterday, he said: ‘I fully understand publicans who want to be getting back to full operation, but I would also advise only open that area of your pub where people can be outdoors and serve people outdoors where they’re not brushing up against each other
‘There are means of achieving these objectives (net zero cases) but we have to be patient and if we’re not patient because it’s not just a second wave, because if it bumps along at 3,000 a day, that’s what produces the 27,000 deaths.’
Things took a bit of a wild turn in London’s Borough Market where revellers were seen riding a ‘Boris bike’ through the streets
Tensions began to flare as more alcohol was consumed and the Super Saturday revelry hotted up into the night (pictured: police speak with an agitated man in Bristol)
Plenty of revellers visited the Railway pub in Clapham London last night for their first pint in 104 days
Revellers bunched together in Bristol last night on Super Saturday when the city was cramemd with jubilant drinkers
But revellers gathered in their hundreds in the Soho area of London last night as lockdown measures were finally eased
Police tend to a woman in Leeds who is slumped on the pavement amid Super Saturday celebrations yesterday
Kick off! Revellers out in Bristol on Super Saturday as the country took its biggest leap out of lockdown so far
These revellers were drinking from plastic cups in the street outside bars and pubs in the Soho area of London last night
Large crowds gathered in Soho in London last night for the first night of pubs and bars reopening after lockdown
One woman in Clapham in London is seen drinking from a beer can in a park near to bars and pubs
A crew from St John Ambulance help a reveller who is on the floor in Soho in London as pubs reopen for the first day yesterday
Shoreditch in London, which is always a popular hot-spot for party-goers, was busy again last night as revellers flocked back
Cargo in Shoreditch, London, was a particularly popular venue for those looking to blow of some steam after lockdown
Pubs reopen across Britain: What are the new social distancing rules?
Individuals from up to six different households can meet up outside, while people from two households of any size can meet inside in England.
You can meet different households at different times.
But you still have to social distance with people from those different households.
That means that drinkers in pubs are supposed to keep at least one metre from others who are not in their group.
The social distancing has been cut from the strict two metre rule – down to Boris Johnson’s new ‘one metre plus rule’.
This means people should try to keep at least two metres if possible, but mitigate with face masks and other protective equipment where they can’t.
Drinkers will have to give their names and details to bar staff to assist with NHS Test and Trace.
There are limits on the number of customers that can enter at one time, to help maintain social distancing.
Bars must provide table service, while drinkers will be stopped from waiting at the bar.
Pubs are also be encouraged to provide hand sanitiser stations.
Noise, such as music and from sports on TV is also banned, to prevent people from singing and shouting.
There will also be less self-service of food and cutlery.
Confronted with pictures of packed streets today, critics of the lockdown easing flooded Twitter this morning with anger directed at ministers.
But others were pleased pubs were finally allowed to pull in punters after lying dormant for 104 days in lockdown.
The hospitality sector was among the hardest hit by the draconian restrictions as landlords were starved of income while in some cases still paying lofty overheads.
Drinkers were hit with hiked prices for beer, wine, cider and spirits as pub chains, including Wetherspoons, desperately tried to make up for lost business.
To breathe life back into the UK’s flagging trade and wider economy, the PM last month announced that pubs, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers could reopen on July 4 – which was instantly dubbed Independence Day and later morphed to become Super Saturday.
Only one chain of cinemas, Showcase, opened yesterday, but hundreds of hairdressers welcomed back customers with strict social distancing measures.
The lifting of curbs was the biggest leap out of lockdown since the nation shuttered on March 26, but the government insists it is acting cautiously.
Gyms, nail bars and nightclubs remain closed, sparking criticism from frustrated fitness junkies in particular who claim the dangers of working out are far less than going to the pub.
It is unclear when these venues will be allowed to reopen, but the PM has said gyms should be able to open in ‘a couple of weeks’.
Among the first on the booze yesterday was Andrew Slawinski, 54, who return to the Toll Gate Wetherspoons in Turnpike Lane, north London. He said his Guinness was ‘gorgeous’, adding: ‘It’s like winning the [Premier] League.’
Ben Clark and his friends Curtis and Connor, were waiting for The Briar Rose in the heart of Birmingham to reopen from 7am.
The Geordie trio, covered in dust following a night shift working on a building site in the city, were ‘watching’ the pubs since 4am, eager to get their hands on the first pint since lockdown.
The mates wanted to grab a ‘well-deserved’ San Miguel and English breakfast from the Bennett’s Hill boozer.
Mr Clark said: ‘We’ve just finished night shifts, I’ve been watching the pubs since 4am this morning, when we came and reserved our tables ready for the pub opening ready for a pint of San Miguel and a breakfast.
‘I’m a big fan of Wetherspoons have been waiting for it since the first day of lockdown.’
Martin Sherrell, 63, pitched up at a Wetherspoons in Bristol at 8am and wolfed down a breakfast – before ordering alcohol as allowed at 9am.
Music was playing in the street in Soho in London, where revellers danced along to the Macarena on night one of pubs reopening
While many enjoyed their first taste of a draught pint, others enjoyed drinks such as gin and tonic outside bars in Soho, London
A group of drinkers enjoy the atmosphere in Manchester with takeaway pints of beer
Two revellers embrace in the street in Soho with one seen carrying a bottle of red win in this hand, as both are surrounded by crowds of people
These women appeared happy to finally be able to enjoy a night on the town in Newcastle as lockdown eased on Saturday
Shoreditch in London, ever-a-popular night out, was heaving with revellers after pubs and bars reopened for the first time
Drinkers were hit with hiked prices for beer, wine, cider and spirits as pub chains, including Wetherspoons, desperately tried to make up for lost business.
Revellers were seen talking to each other holding pints of beer in each hand at bars in Borough Market in London
He said he usually visits The Commercial Rooms but, as it was shut, was forced to relocate to The Berkeley with his two friends.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage boasted he was the first inside his local boozer, but quickly saw himself fending off accusations of flouting social distancing rules
He denied breaking lockdown less than two weeks after he returned from a trip to the US – but the leader of the Lib Dems reported him to police.
Mr Farage, 56, said he returned from America two weeks ago and after quarantining tested negative for the virus.
The Brexit Party leader proudly posted a picture online of himself at lunchtime today holding a pint and declaring ’12 o’clock, first customer in. Love it.’
But critics weighed in on the former UKIP leader and said he had been in America on June 20, questioning how he could already be out of quarantineThe row took a surprising turn when acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey reported him to Kent Police and asked them to investigate.