Jubilant Britons sink 15million pints on their first night at the pub in 104 days... but huge crowds gather in London as some drinkers ignore the one-metre rule and other bars shut early after 'disorder'

Jubilant Britons last night blew off some steam after three months of lockdown measures as pubs lifted their shutters for the first time in 104 days on 'Super Saturday' - but large crowds gathered in some areas and many drinkers appeared to ignore social distancing rules in their excitement.
Experts said Britons sank up to 15million pints yesterday, as revellers poured out of their homes and into pubs and bars to enjoy their first taste of a draught pint.
But while much of the revelry passed peacefully, some large crowds gathered particularly in London's Soho district and there were cases of disorder in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire that forced bars to close early. 
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.  
Boris Johnson has urged restraint because the UK is 'not out of the woods yet, and many 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. The city of Leicester has already been locked down again after a surge in coronavirus cases.   
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. 
But Britons enjoyed being finally allowed to return to pubs, get haircuts and hold weddings yesterday for the first time since the government's coronavirus lockdown measures were brought in at the end of March. 
While pubs up and down the country opened with a raft of safety measures, as the revelry grew livelier into the night, pub-goers appeared to increasingly ignore the government's new 'one-metre-plus' rule.
Paramedics were seen tending to inebriated revellers, part-collapsed on the floor, while other pub-goers were seen vomiting in the street.  
A&E departments were last night preparing for a surge in booze-fuelled patients by setting up tents outside hospitals to keep people socially distanced as they wait.
Meanwhile police in Devon and Cornwall say they received more than 1,000 reports last night, most of which were 'drink-related', while police in West Yorkshire were called to a 'safety concern' at a village pub near Bradford.
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.
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.
And 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'.
Crowds gathered in their numbers in Soho in London, where there are a number of bars on each side of the street
Crowds gathered in their numbers in Soho in London, where there are a number of bars on each side of the street
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
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 tonight
Things took a bit of a wild turn in London's Borough Market where revellers were seen riding a 'Boris bike' through the streets
Police were on patrol last night in Soho, London, as large crowds gathered there to drink on the first night of lockdown easing
Cars struggled to get through the crowds of people in the street in Soho, London, last night as revellers drank 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
Door staff outside the Market Shaker in the Bigg Market area of Newcastle have been given personal protective equipment as pubs reopen todayAnd door staff have been kitted out with equipment that allows them to take the temperature of those wishing to come in for a drink
Customers queue to enter a bar on Hilton Street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester
A policeman keeps watch over the large crowds that gathered on the street in the middle of Soho in London
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
Revellers in Clapham, London enjoyed a night in the pubs and bars as pubs reopened today for the first time since lockdown began
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
Outdoor seating was set out in closed street in Manchester so drinkers could gather outside. Groups of up to six from different households are allowed under the guidelines
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
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
One woman in Clapham in London is seen drinking from a beer can in a park near to bars and pubs
Plenty of rubbish, including plastic cups, tins, bottles and other pieces of plastic were thrown on the street during the partying
Taking a tumble: This woman in Newcastle lost her footing while enjoying a night out
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
While many enjoyed their first taste of a draught pint, others enjoyed drinks such as gin and tonic outside bars in Soho, London
Shoreditch in London, ever-a-popular night out, was heaving with revellers after pubs and bars reopened for the first time
Last night pub-goers were forecast to sink a staggering 15million pints at 23,000 establishments across the country, according to experts, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning revellers 'not to over-do it'.
 He said on Friday: 'The virus is still with us and the spike in Leicester has shown that. If it starts running out of control again this Government will not hesitate in putting on the brakes and re-imposing restrictions.
'Anyone who flouts social distancing and COVID-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal.
'So as we take this next step, our biggest step yet, on the road to recovery, I urge the British people to do so safely.'
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. 
That did little to deter revellers from descending on the chain's pubs in their numbers, including The Regal, in Cambridge, where drinkers reportedly waited for up to an hour to get in.  
Bars were not able to throw open their doors to customers first thing because the regulations enforced their four-month closure until 6am.
With the new coronavirus rules not published until Friday afternoon, some landlords had planned to open as soon as the clock ticked past midnight.
But Downing Street scotched the swift openings by ensuring the ban remained in place until after sunrise.
Among the first on the booze today 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.
He said he usually visits The Commercial Rooms but, as it was shut, was forced to relocate to The Berkeley with his two friends.

distancing rules for 'Super Saturday'? 

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. Earlier in the day Borough Market in London, normally a busy hot-spot for food-lovers and those in search of a pint, was packed as people gathered in their numbers for the first time since lockdown began
Borough Market wasn't the only busy London hot-spot to be crowded by pub-goers. The streets of Soho in London were also busy today

NHS chief warns of Super Saturday 'pub-ageddon' as Matt Hancock declares drunken thugs will be thrown into jail if they break the law as bars and restaurants reopen from 6am

  • The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could 'by all means' go to the bar provided they are sensible
  • NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint when bars and pubs reopen tomorrow morning
  • Pubs and bars have been preparing for 'Super Saturday' by ensuring social distancing measures can be met 
Drunken thugs will be locked up if they run riot on 'Super Saturday', Matt Hancock warned last night.
The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could 'by all means go to the bar' today but they had to be sensible.
He added: 'You could end up behind bars if you break the law.' 
NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens also called for restraint and not 'pub-ageddon' when bars and restaurants open for the first time in more than three months.
Writing in the Mail, he said doctors and nurses did not want 'the drunk and disorderly' to flood hospitals.
The double intervention came ahead of the biggest easing of restrictions since a sweeping national lockdown was imposed at the end of March.
The Health Secretary told the Mail that Britons could ¿by all means go to the bar¿ today but they had to be sensible. Pictured: BrewDog Tower Hill staff finish preparations for tomorrow's opening with plastic screens in place on tables
Barman Michael Fitzsimons wears PPE while pouring a pint behind a protective shield at the bar, during final preparations at The Faltering Fullback pub in North London, ahead of its reopening
Staff at BrewDog Tower Hill in London prepare the pub's menu in preparation for its reopening tomorrow
Asked if courts should take a tough line with booze-fuelled idiots who start fights in pubs, he said: 'Of course, the law is there for a reason. The Government would not shrink from shutting pubs again where there was irresponsible behaviour.'
The British Medical Association urged revellers to act responsibly amid fears that emergency departments could see a sharp rise in alcohol-related casualties.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, also warned at a news conference of the danger of the 'superspreading' of coronavirus in pubs.
And Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said: 'This virus is a long way from gone, it is not going to be gone for a long time. Nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step.'
In his article for the Mail, Sir Simon urged the public to 'exercise restraint' today.
He said: 'Our A&E doctors, nurses and paramedics are desperate not to see so-called 'pubageddon' – with hospitals flooded with the drunk and disorderly.'
Boris's local lockdown threat: As pubs open doors for first time in 14 weeks, PM warns public: Don't blow it 
Boris Johnson told the nation 'don't blow it' as pubs reopened for the first time in three months today – and threatened more local lockdowns if the virus surges.
Police are bracing for mayhem on what has been dubbed 'Super Saturday' with more officers deployed in some parts of the country than on New Year's Eve.
Pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to resume trading from 6am with the Prime Minister describing it as the 'biggest step yet' back towards normality.
A timetable for the re-opening of other venues that remain shut, including gyms and swimming pools, will be published next week along with guidance on mass gatherings such as concerts.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation ¿don¿t blow it¿ as pubs reopened for the first time in three months today ¿ and threatened more local lockdowns if the virus surges
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, also sounded a highly cautious tone.
He said the probability of a second wave of infections would go up 'very, very sharply' if people failed to follow the rules.
He added: 'This virus is a long way from gone, it is not going to be gone for a long time. Nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step. We have to be absolutely serious about it.' 

Cornwall braces for mass influx of 80,000 tourists this weekend as hospitality industry opens its doors on 'Super Saturday' 

Visit Cornwall chief executive Malcolm Bell said there could be between 75,000 and 80,000 visitors flocking to the county this weekend. Above, head housekeeper Carolanne Rowe wears PPE as she cleans a balcony at St Moritz in Cornwall
Visit Cornwall chief executive Malcolm Bell said there could be between 75,000 and 80,000 visitors flocking to the county this weekend. Above, head housekeeper Carolanne Rowe wears PPE as she cleans a balcony at St Moritz in Cornwall
Cornwall could see a staggering 80,000 tourists entering the county this weekend, as businesses open their doors on 'Super Saturday'.
There is expected to be an influx of visitors as hotels, campsites, pubs and restaurants are allowed to open on July 4, for the first time since lockdown.
Hotels, AirBnBs, campsites and caravan parks are gearing up to welcome tourists opting for staycations, rather than travelling abroad, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Visit Cornwall chief executive Malcolm Bell said there could be between 75,000 and 80,000 visitors flocking to the county this weekend, Cornwall Live reported.
He said this figure is down 30% on usual tourist numbers at this time of year, but that it is expected to rise to 100,000 in the coming weeks.
Mr Bell said that not all accommodation providers plan to open this weekend, with some holiday parks and hotels opening on Monday or later next week.
He added that some hotels would be running at 50% occupancy for the first few days to make sure they are ready for guests, after bringing staff back from furlough.   
Under new laws published yesterday, pubs can reopen at 6am today. However, they can only serve alcohol during their normal licensing hours and the re-opening time was determined to avoid people drinking just after midnight.
New laws will also give the police the power to break up any gatherings of more than 30 people.
Yesterday, police chiefs warned that anyone breaking the rules this weekend would be prosecuted and that pubs could be shut down.
Emergency services are expected to be so stretched that ambulance bosses have urged people to phone 999 only if it is life threatening.
West Midlands Labour Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said he was hoping for bad weather as he warned the decision to re-open pubs on a Saturday was a recipe for 'serious disorder'.
He added: 'It is the case that when the weather is inclement, the problems we have are somewhat reduced. So we're praying for rain.'
Scotland Yard commander Bas Javid called for drinkers in the capital to be responsible and said it was important 'we don't lose track of how far we have all come'.
Police in Leicester – the first city put in local lockdown – fear people will travel to nearby Nottingham for a drink and will be patrolling train stations in both cities to question passengers.
The National Police Chiefs' lead for alcohol harm, Rachel Kearton, said she expected 'New Year's Eve-style' celebrations but people should be prepared to alter plans or go home if venues are too busy.
Yesterday the Prime Minister vowed to move away from 'blanket measures' and instead use local lockdowns to combat Covid.
He outlined a five-step plan for how regional outbreaks would be dealt with. 
Firstly Government scientists will be tasked with looking out for local hotspots, second NHS Test and Trace will seek to develop a deeper understanding of these and, third, extra testing will be used to get a grip on the problem.
The fourth step would use restrictions could such as closing individual premises and, fifth, local lockdowns will be brought in if the problem persists.
Mr Johnson also suggested people should consider using face coverings when queuing. 
'This isn't just another disease for me. Friends have died. I got off lightly': Matt Hancock reveals his own struggles with coronavirus as critics lash the Health Secretary for 'over-promising and under-delivering' 
The first sign Matt Hancock had that he was feeling the strain of dealing with the Government's attempt to fight coronavirus was when he noticed wife Martha scrutinising his thinning hair.
She singled out a single grey strand and promptly pulled it out.
It was the last week in May, a big moment politically and personally for 41-year-old Health Secretary. 
He was mightily relieved to reach his much-vaunted target of 100,000 Covid tests a day with hours to spare. But it came at a cost: 'We hit the target but in the process I got my first grey hair!' he laughs.
Tiggerish Hancock loves setting himself political targets. But when the results of the inevitable inquiry into the Government's handling of the pandemic are published, many expect him to be in the cross hairs.
He has been the subject of vicious sniping from unnamed Downing St sources for allegedly 'over-promising and under-delivering' on combatting the virus, the fiasco of the anti-Covid app and clashes with the Prime Minister.
Yet sitting in his office in the Health Department in Westminster, Hancock did not look like a man expecting the coronavirus chop. 
In his first major interview since the crisis began in March, he warned drunken thugs they faced jail if they abuse today's reopening of pubs and announced the biggest ever flu jab programme to help the NHS prepare for the risk of a new Covid wave in winter.
In a rare public show of emotion, he talked candidly of how the crisis has made him rethink his approach to politics and life. 
Hancock, a father of three, was struck down by Covid at the same time as Boris Johnson, and says that although he was back at his desk in a week it was a 'horrible' experience. 
'For two days I couldn't swallow, eat or drink. It was like having shards of glass in your throat.'
Hancock believes that being trim – he is six feet tall and twelve stone seven pounds – helped him get over it quickly. 'Thin people get through it better than fat people,' he said.
Could he match his chunkier fellow survivor Boris Johnson's theatrical performance of one or two press ups in front of the cameras in his Downing Street study? 
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 41, was mightily relieved to reach his much-vaunted target of 100,000 Covid tests a day with hours to spare in the last week of May
Hancock believes that being trim ¿ he is six feet tall and twelve stone seven pounds ¿ helped him get over it quickly
Hancock believes that being trim – he is six feet tall and twelve stone seven pounds – helped him get over it quickly
'I'm not in competition with the Prime Minister,' Hancock replied coyly, before adding: 'I can do maybe 25.'
Three of Hancock's friends have been lost to Covid: economics professor Deepak Lal; Sir Peter Sinclair who taught him when he joined the Bank of England after university; and British envoy Steven Dick, who worked for Hancock when he was Culture, Media and Sports Secretary.
'This really matters for me,' he said. 'This isn't just another disease and it isn't just a policy problem. I feel the effects of it really personally. People I admire and respect have died. Friends. I got off lightly.'
Hancock is planning a quiet Super Saturday: a pint of beer with his brother Chris – and a haircut. And in suitably responsible style (unlike Boris Johnson's reckless dad Stanley) has booked a family 'staycation' in Cornwall in August.
He has often been accused of paying more attention to political games than principles. Not any more, he claimed: 'I have learned about the need to rise above some of the politics...the comings and goings.'
He defended his record in curbing the virus, but there is no escaping the fact that Britain has one of the highest numbers of fatalities in the world. 
And most experts admit there were mistakes in delaying the initial lockdown and failing to protect the elderly in care homes, and bungles over testing and apps.Hancock will be the fall guy, not Johnson or the scientists; it's on his watch, I suggested.
'Everybody was doing the best job they possibly could. The decisions we took we took together… we were trying to use all the information at your disposal and come to the best judgements that collectively you can.'
Health Secretary Matt Hancock with horse Star of Bengal after going out riding with the Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket
Health Secretary Matt Hancock with horse Star of Bengal after going out riding with the Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket
Health Secretary Matt Hancock with horse Star of Bengal after going out riding with the Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket
Note his use of the words 'together,' 'collectively', 'all the information at your disposal'.
A cynic's translation might be: 'I might be the Health Secretary but everything I did was signed off by the Prime Minister so don't blame me. And if I made any blunders it was because the scientists gave me the wrong information.' 
Was he big enough to admit he personally had got some things wrong? He replied cautiously: 'We are constantly learning…' I interjected: 'You dumped the elderly into care homes, thousands died.' He replied: 'That wasn't the case.'
Finally he conceded there were things he wished he had done differently. He regrets banning loved ones from attending relatives' funerals, for instance.
But he insisted he had got many things right. 'I was told there's nothing we can do about it...the NHS will be overwhelmed. But we protected the NHS.'
He refuses to apologise for losing his cool when interrupted by BBC Radio's Nick Robinson, pleading tetchily: 'Let me speak!'
'The thing that gets to me is the injustice,' he said of Robinson's constant interruptions. 'If people are being unfair I do find that frustrating.'
He conspicuously failed to deny reports he had protested to Johnson, saying 'give me a break!', in a row concerning the Government's virus handling. 
Some of Johnson's allies have always been suspicious of Hancock, a Remainer and member of the David Cameron/George Osborne inner circle despised by Johnson. 
In last year's leadership contest, Hancock attacked Johnson's call to prorogue Parliament to force through Brexit and sided with journalist Charlotte Edwardes who said Johnson groped her at a dinner party.
When Hancock's own leadership challenge flopped, he shamelessly backed the hot favourite Johnson.
Spectator editor Fraser Nelson has said Tory critics see him as a 'sycophant who crawls up to anyone who is in power.' 
Hancock responded without blushing: 'Guilty as charged. I'm a team player.' Piers Morgan has called him a 'pathetic, pious, hapless, hypocrite, bossy school prefect.' 'I can't deny the last,' roared Hancock.
Not everyone is out to get him. 
He proudly pointed out that the smart John Lewis blue tie he wore for the interview was sent to him by a constituent who assumed from his regular appearances at Downing Street press conferences in a pink tie that he didn't have any other.
Hancock said his first lesson in politics and economics came when his mother Shirley and step-father Bob's high-tech family firm in his native Cheshire faced bankruptcy after a client failed to pay a bill on time.
A self-confessed geek, he wrote computer codes for the firm from the age of 15.
'Every day we hoped the cheque would come and when the postman came I'd run from the breakfast table. I can still hear the noise of that letter box.
'When the cheque came, mum took it straight to the bank and the business survived. It made me ask how can a perfectly successful business go under because of something completely out of their control. 
Spectator editor Fraser Nelson has said Tory critics see Matt Hancock as a ¿sycophant who crawls up to anyone who is in power¿Piers Morgan has called him a ¿pathetic, pious, hapless, hypocrite, bossy school prefect¿
'It is why my heart goes out to businesses so badly hit by this crisis.'
Having barely had a day off for five months, he is keen to have time with his own children.
He was amused when his daughter asked for help with her home school studies only to discover it was an essay on politics.
More improbably he also worked as a schoolboy 'horse catcher' at the Grand National in nearby Liverpool.
'My job was to stand next to a big jump and if a jockey fell off, catch the horse. One year I gave a jockey a leg up and he finished the race. They changed the rules after that!'
The naughtiest thing he will admit to is fibbing as a student sports radio reporter in his Oxford days.
Due to report on an England rugby match at Twickenham, he overslept and filed his reports watching it on TV in a pub in Reading, while pretending to be at the game.
'I went into a phone box opposite the pub and said 'here I am, live at Twickenham, as the teams take the field, the crowd enthusiastic on their feet in applause!' he laughs, imitating a commentator's patter.
It's not the most recent 'naughty' thing he has done, however. As we discussed his attempts to curb drunken scenes in pubs today, he confessed to having got drunk himself just six months ago at Christmas, declining to give further details.
But Hancock pledged 100 per cent support for police chiefs who are tasked with stopping 'Super Saturday' leading to riotous behaviour.
Asked if judges and magistrates should take a tough line with booze-fuelled idiots who start pub fights, he said: 'Of course, the law is there for a reason.'
When Hancock in 2012 took part in a charity horse race at Newmarket, the home of British flat racing in his West Suffolk constituency, he got tips on tactics from top jockey Frankie Dettori. 'I was told to tuck in behind who I thought would win, pull out at two furlongs and kick on.'
It sounds like a metaphor for his political rise, I suggested. 'I won the race,' he grinned.

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