Coronavirus: England has first night out since closure


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Reuters

People across England have had their first night out in three months, after coronavirus restrictions eased.

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

But the ministers called for caution, and England’s medical director said the last step was not “risk free.”

It occurs when buildings and landmarks across the country lit up to celebrate the NHS.

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

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AFP

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The buildings lit up in blue in honor of the tens of thousands of people who died during the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom.

Downing Street lit up in blue, while other public buildings such as Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, Shard and Wembley Arch were also lit up.

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

In England, people are allowed to spend the night away from home for the first time since the closure began, with the reopening of camps and holiday accommodation.

Dorset, Devon and Cornwall police reported that the roads had been blocked on Saturday, including a large volume of caravan owners heading to the coast.

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Despite the easing of restrictions, about 30% of bars, pubs and restaurants have remained closed, according to the Night-Time Industries Association, amid concerns over security and concerns about how to implement a guide to social distancing.

National Campaign for Real Ale president Nik Antona said: “The government has not really been helpful with its guidance, leaving it until the last minute in many cases.” Some pubs “want to see what’s going to happen” before opening their doors, she said.

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Media caption“Good looking good”: BBC Fiona Trott talks to drinkers in a pub in Newcastle

In a Newcastle pub, punters enjoyed their first “proper look” in more than three months. “The atmosphere is a little different … that was expected. But everyone is having a good time,” a client told Fiona Trott of the BBC.

“The regulations are good and everyone follows them, it seems,” said his partner.

But it is a very different type of Saturday from expectations prior to closing. Customers are expected to reserve a table in advance, record their details on arrival, and stay no more than three hours.

While pubs in Scotland remain closed, a publican in Berwick-upon-Tweed claimed that 70% of his pub’s bookings came from the border.

The publican Marc McDonald told BBC Scotland that people had traveled from as far away as Glasgow and Edinburgh to drink at The Meadow House.

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It’s a different story in Leicester, where the streets were largely deserted, as pubs and other places remain closed after the city became the first to be closed locally on Monday, following an increase in cases of Covid-19.

Other changes to the rules that went into effect on Saturday include allowing two homes to meet inside or outside, even for the night, although they must maintain social distance.

People in England are still urged to stay 2 meters apart, but the new “one more meter” guide means they can get close if they use “mitigation” measures, such as covering their faces and not sitting face to face.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak welcomed the reopening of business and said it was “good news” that people were working again.

On a visit to The Bell and Crown in Chiswick, West London, Mr. Sunak said that almost half a million people who worked in Britain’s pubs and bars were “helping us all to enjoy the summer safely” .

But the Labor leader, Sir Keir Starmer, criticized the government’s messages as “all over the place,” and told TimesRadio: “They have had some messages from the government that they say go out and have a drink, other messages say they are responsible, be cautious, I think the message has been very poor in recent weeks. “

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Despite the easing of restrictions, public health experts continue to warn people to be cautious to avoid a second wave of epidemic in the UK.

Professor Robert West, an epidemiologist at University College London, told the BBC: “We are seeing around 20,000 new infections per week and around 1,000 deaths per week and the rates are not falling very fast.”

The latest figures, released on Saturday, showed that another 67 people had died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the number of deaths to 44,198.

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