Thirst through the door: drinkers return to pubs on stroke of midnight as lockdown eases
Revellers in England were quick to embrace their newly-restored freedoms when some pubs opened at midnight, as the latest easing of restrictions came into force.
Up until midnight, customers had to rely on the weather to partake in drinking in establishments with beer gardens or street terraces.
As Sunday turned to Monday, customers could once again savour some of the indoor treats that had been denied to them, such as perusing a jukebox screen for a favourite track or sinking a few balls on the pool table.
After Christmas was all but cancelled, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had hoped for a better 2021 than the previous year – but it soon became apparent amid a startling rise in cases and deaths that firm action was needed to control the virus with the vaccines programme only in its infancy.
And 2021 had only just begun when another national lockdown was imposed as the country wrestled with an alarming spread of infection.
As restrictions eased and the vaccination programme was rolled out on a massive scale, pubs with beer gardens or other outdoor drinking areas were permitted to reopen but in often inclement weather it was not the most convivial setting for those who chose to partake.
With only visits to toilets allowed indoors, it meant that some of the pleasures of the pub were off limits.
However, Monday’s midnight relaxation of the rules saw pool tables once again available to customers while some drinkers made a beeline for the jukebox so they could mark the occasion with their favourite music.
Indoor pub drinking was not the only relaxation of the rules that came into effect on Monday and many customers also took advantage of another easing of the lockdown conditions.
Hugging, under a more vague instruction to be sensible, was now allowed and many customers toasted and embraced each other in another step on the road back to normality.