People queue outside pub at midnight in freezing temperatures to get their first pint this year

People queued outside a pub at midnight on Monday morning as lockdown rules in England.

Drinkers at The Oak Inn in Coventry were able to enjoy a pint at a pub for the first time since before Christmas as England’s lockdown rules eased.

In Wales, pubs and restaurants will not be able to open outdoors until April 26. But England has allowed hospitality to reopen outdoors as part of stage two of its lockdown easing plan which came in at midnight on Monday, April 12.

Non-essential retail has opened in both countries today – you can see live updates from Wales’ town and city centres here.

In Coventry, the Oak Inn is licensed till 6am, and also plans to sell food throughout the night, such as pizzas, burgers and kebabs.

In England, hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos will all reopen today in another stride back towards normality. Wales also reopens close contact services including nail salons and tattooists. Hairdressers have been open for several weeks.

However, social mixing indoors in both nations will remain heavily restricted, with around two in five adults yet to receive their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and the vast majority yet to get both.

Boris Johnson has urged the nation to “behave responsibly” when pub gardens reopen and restaurants resume outdoor dining in a major easing of England’s coronavirus lockdown.

The Prime Minister urged caution during the “major step forward” as a scientist advising the Government warned the rules must be followed to minimise a possible rebound in case numbers.

“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,” Mr Johnson said.

“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.”

Remaining school pupils will 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 “stay at home” order in Northern Ireland will also end as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), told Times Radio: “The watchword has got to be caution really.

“It’s not clear exactly when or how big it will be, but there is, I think, inevitably going to be a bit of a rebound in the number of cases when things are relaxed.”

The Oxford University academic said the vaccination programme will minimise hospital admissions and deaths but warned it will not be completely effective.

“Now the extent of it really depends on how well we comply with the ongoing restrictions so we really have to take this step by step,” he added.

“I think we can be joyful and enjoy the freedoms but we’ve still got to realise there’s still a large number of people who’ve not been infected or vaccinated and so they will be at risk.”

Secret Spa co-owner Emily Ewart-Perks, who opened her beauty company’s at-home salon services up for clients at midnight, said Monday’s bookings are set to double the company’s best-ever day to date.

She added: “We realised we had quite a few regular clients who we weren’t able to book in on the first day back, so we thought ‘why don’t we open the first moment we can?’

“It’s so amazing. It’s just been such a long time coming.”

Source – Wales Online