Pub-goers greeted with snow on first day of lockdown easing

12 April 2021, 11:12 | Updated: 12 April 2021, 11:14

England faced a smattering of snow as pub-goers were given their first taste of a draft pint since lockdown
England faced a smattering of snow as pub-goers were given their first taste of a draft pint since lockdown. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Much of England has been greeted with a smattering of snow on the day lockdown is relaxed - but that hasn't dampened anyone's resolve in getting to the pub.

The country has spent the last three months having to stay in their homes, but from today a raft of restrictions in England have been lifted.

Temperatures as low as -2C were recorded in parts of the nation, and flurries of snow were spotted in west London, as Reading, Berkshire, Sevenoaks, Kent and parts of Oxfordshire.

Northern England is expected to remain dry and bright throughout the day, but the south will face rain and sleet.

Live: Gyms, pub gardens and non-essential shops reopen

Read more: PM urges millions to 'behave responsibly' as England's lockdown eases

Despite the arctic temperatures, Brits have been flocking to their favourite watering holes after months of closures.

Current restrictions mean that punters can only be served outside, meaning anyone who fancies a pint will need to brave the cold.

And it isn't just pubs which are open. From today non-essential retail, gyms, indoor pools and zoos can all reopen.

Eager customers were seen scrambling into a shop on London's Oxford Street today as measures were lifted.

Footage captured by LBC Correspondent Rachael Venables on Monday showed shoppers queuing outside JD Sports' flagship central London store prior to its reopening.

Hundreds of people braved the cold conditions to be among the first into shops as England's coronavirus restrictions were eased.Coat-wearing customers were itching to get inside JD Sports from at least 7am on Monday morning.

Half an hour later, the shutters were lifted for the first time since England went into a nationwide lockdown and the shoppers scrambled into the sports-fashion retail store.

It was a chilly Monday morning for many
It was a chilly Monday morning for many. Picture: PA

Rachael Venables said most in the crowd were looking for rare or exclusive trainers - rather than "new joggers" - to resell at a profit.

Boris Johnson urged people to "behave responsibly" when pubs and restaurants resume outdoor service as England’s Covid lockdown eases again.

The Prime Minister said it was a "major step forward" as non-essential retail, hairdressers, and indoor gyms and swimming pools return.

However, social mixing indoors remains restricted and the Government wants to avoid a major uptick in infections with two-in-five adults still to receive a first dose of a vaccine.

A car is covered with snow in Maidenhead
A car is covered with snow in Maidenhead. Picture: PA

Mr Johnson said: "I'm sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it's a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed.

"I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember 'hands, face, space and fresh air' to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.

"Other parts of the UK are due to enjoy more freedoms, with Wales permitting non-essential retail to reopen and travel to the rest of the UK and Ireland.

School pupils will be allowed to return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, in moves being echoed in Scotland as pupils return from their Easter breaks.

The order to stay at home will also be dropped in Northern Ireland and the number of people allowed to meet outdoors will rise from six to ten.

Read more: Pub owners urge Government to guarantee full easing of restrictions by June

In England, pubs and restaurants have tried to adjust to serving customers outside but the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that just 40% of licensed premises have the space to reopen for outdoor service.

Establishments have been boosted, however, by the Government deciding against reimposing the 10pm curfew and substantial meal requirement previously seen.Social distancing will still need to be maintained.