Pubs pour pints again but not all choose to open as lockdown eased in England

Pub pints have been poured and couples finally had the opportunity to say “I do” as lockdown restrictions were eased across England.

Weddings are permitted again and businesses including restaurants, bars, cinemas and hairdressers have been able to welcome customers for the first time in more than three months – but not all of those allowed to open chose to do so.

Keen punters were enjoying their first post-lockdown drinks from round 11am in Chester, with one regular describing his first pint of draught Guinness for three months as “heaven”.

Speaking from The Shropshire Arms, Bert Lockley told the PA news agency: “I’ve missed this more than my missus when she left.

“You can drink at home but you can’t get this feeling anywhere else.”

Despite pleas from ministers for people to make the most of their new freedoms and inject some money into the economy, some are still erring on the side of caution and many venues remain closed.

A pub landlord
Lance Pritchard, manager of The Shropshire Arms, Chester, prepares to welcome back his regular drinkers (Pat Hurst/PA)

The national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) believes as many as half of pubs will stay shuttered on Saturday.

Nik Antona told PA: “I think it’s going to be difficult for pubs.

“They are opening up under uncertain circumstances. They don’t know if they’re going to get their customers back.”

A pint is pulled
The Campaign for Real Ale’s national chairman Nik Antona waits at the bar at the Royal Oak in Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire, as landlord Steve Boulter pulls a pint of bitter (Matthew Cooper/PA)

He added: “What you are finding is, some of the pubs haven’t even bothered opening today – they want to see what’s going to happen.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier claimed the public needs to “eat out to help out”.

He explained on Saturday: “The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people’s livelihoods – Britain’s pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people – which is why it’s such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely.”

He made the comments as he visited The Bell & Crown in Chiswick, west London – a pub run by brewers Fullers, who only plan on opening 27 of their 215 own-managed venues on Saturday.

The new guidelines also allow staycations and overnight stays for the first time in months.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

Police said roads into Devon and Cornwall were “very, very busy”, with holidaymakers making their way to beauty spots and the coast.

Traffic cameras and pictures posted on social media showed busy service station car parks, congested motorway carriageways and large amounts of caravans.

Travellers were urged to avoid peak times, while police asked caravan owners to check their vehicles before setting of.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police’s roads policing teams tweeted: “The roads are wet and very, very busy heading in to Devon and Cornwall.

Coronavirus – Sat Jul 4, 2020
The closed Leicester City club shop, as the city remains in local lockdown, despite coronavirus lockdown restrictions being eased across the rest of England (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’re out in force trying to keep things moving but please keep a safe distance, use your headlights and ensure you check your caravan before your journey as many have been laid up for a long time.”

The city of Leicester for the most part remains closed, however, amid its own local lockdown.

Restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs in the city must remain closed, but can be open for takeaways.

People are also banned from staying overnight at another household, and those in the restricted area can no longer visit people in private gardens or indoors, and could face fines if they flout rules.

The East Midlands city was placed under harsher restrictions by Health Secretary Matt Hancock following the rapid rise of coronavirus cases.

As well as the city of Leicester, the lockdown area includes parts of Leicestershire that touch on the city’s boundaries, including parts of Blaby District and Charnwood in the county.

Read Full Story Click here to comment