Britons flocked to pubs across England for the first time in three months on Saturday and several disturbing images have since surfaced of mass gatherings outside venues. In London pictures emerged of hundreds of revellers crammed together partying in the streets and waiting in long queues.
In Soho, a popular hub of the nightlife in the Capital, Rafal Liszewski, a store manager on Old Compton Street, described the area as “out of control” with an estimated 3,000 people.
In Southampton, John Apter chairman of the Police Federation, said it was “crystal clear” Britons could not adhere to social distancing where alcohol is involved.
The scenes promoted an angry response from a number of Express.co.uk readers, who fear the “selfish” behaviour of some could force another lockdown or worst a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
One user said: “Welcome to the second wave after the drunken idiots forgot about social distancing.”
Britons flocked to the pubs in England on ‘Super Saturday’
Large groups went for a drink in Soho in London
A second commented: “I am in my fourth month of shielding! This behaviour really p*sses me off because I can see where this is going. LOCKDOWN!”
A third said: “Why can’t people be normal just go about as before but 2m apart I can see all pubs closing.”
In an additional story on the madness posted by Express.co.uk on Facebook, Thelma Conlan said: “Selfish people, hope they feel ashamed of themselves.”
Mary Hensby added: “If this is true, then they are so stupid ignoring the rules of distancing themselves. What a selfish, ignorant crowd of people, no brain cells in their heads.
There was a large police presence in Soho
“Are they so desperate for downing a load of beer or whatever they drink. With this sort of people we are bound to have to isolate again undoing all the good work that the NHS, Government, and everyone else that helped to get past the worst pandemic in our time.”
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said during his shift in Southampton he dealt with “naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks”.
He added: “What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t/won’t socially distance.
“It was a busy night but the shift managed to cope. I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted.”
Boris Johnson urged the British public to use common sense
Rafal Liszewski, a store manager at Clonezone on Soho’s Old Compton Street, said crowds began to flock to central London from 1pm before things got out of hand by 9pm.
Mr liszewski estimated there was between two and three thousand people on Old Compton Street with hardly anyone wearing a protective face covering.
There was also disorder in north Nottinghamshire, where four people were arrested and several pubs decided to close after alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
Saturday July 4 was the biggest relaxing of the lockdown since March with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas reopening.
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An estimated 3,000 people were on Old Compton Street
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had urged the British public to use their “common sense”.
The Government’s chief medical advisor Professor Chris Whitty said the pandemic “is a long way from gone” and had urged the public to follow social-distancing rules.
This morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was pleased with the behaviour of most people up and down England.
Coronavirus cases around the UK
Speaking to Sky News’s Sophy Ridge, Mr Hancock said: “From what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very very largely people have acted responsibly.
“Overall, I’m pleased with what happened yesterday.
“But of course we’ll take action when we need to when… if the minority break the rules.”
On those who did not social distance, Mr Hancock said: “Well we’ll, of course, keep this very closely under review, and you’ve seen for instance in Leicester but also in other places that we don’t shirk from bringing in more drastic measures if that is what’s needed to control the virus.”
Published at Sun, 05 Jul 2020 15:49:00 +0000