Pints poured, unkempt hairdos cut, as England eases lockdown

Pints poured, unkempt hairdos cut, as England eases lockdown

LONDON — The pints are being supped and the unkempt hairdos cut and styled as England embarked Saturday on its biggest lockdown-easing yet, one that many think has come too soon given still-high levels of coronavirus infections and deaths.

In addition to the reopening of much of the English hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, for the first time in more than three months, couples can tie the knot once again and film buffs can catch a movie at the cinema.

Museums and libraries also got the green light, but gyms, swimming pools and nail bars remain shut. Restrictions on travel and social contact were loosened as well; people from different households can now go into each other’s homes, for example.

And many individuals despairing at what they saw in the mirror had their hair professionally trimmed. For all types of businesses, there are social-distancing rules that must be followed.

“It was doing my head in to be honest, I’m just glad it’s gone now,” William Brown, a 25-year-old plant engineer, said at Headley’s Barber Shop in Blaby, central England.

Owner Stephanie Headley, 35, was equally relieved to be back in business for the fist time since the full lockdown was announced on March 23.

Headley said she was a “bit anxious” and has been inundated with appointment requests since the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the latest easing of the lockdown last week.

“I can’t wait to see all the dodgy haircuts that have come out of quarantine,” she said.

Though the easing of the lockdown was warmly welcomed by many, there are concerns the British government is being overly hasty, even reckless, in sanctioning the changes. The U.K. has experienced one of the world’s worst outbreaks so far; the official coronavirus death toll of 44,131 is the third-highest behind the United States and Brazil.

Critics point to the experience elsewhere, particularly in some U.S. states, where the reopening of bars and restaurants has been blamed for a spike in infections as drinkers abandon social distancing after imbibing a few of their favourite tipples.

Tim Sheehan, co-owner of Franklins, a pub and restaurant in southeast London, said he was concerned Saturday night would be “like New Year’s Eve” in some pubs, particularly those that cater to younger people.

The four nations of the U.K. — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have eased the virus-prevention restrictions at different speeds over the past few weeks. The restrictions in England, with a population of around 56 million, or 85% or so of the U.K.’s total, have been lifted the most, triggering concerns that the Johnson government is being unduly influenced by economic factors.

Johnson pointed to a sharp reduction in the level of infections and says the decision to ease the lockdown is based on the scientific evidence that people are “appreciably less likely now to be in close proximity” with someone with the virus than at the height of the pandemic.

“This is a big turning point for us,” he said Friday. “We’ve got to get it right.”

Though the lockdown has posed an existential threat to England’s 37,500 pubs, not all that could reopen did. Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, said early indications were that around half of pubs have opted against as “they want to see what’s going to happen.”

The Tyne Bar in Newcastle, northeast England, questioned why the easing took place on a Saturday, traditionally the day of the week when most alcohol-related incidents take place. The establishment said it is “genuinely concerned that this could be a day of total chaos” and that it’s “not worth the risk.” It is set to open on Monday instead.

The social-distancing guidelines inevitably mean that going to pubs and restaurants is inevitably going to be a different experience to the one enjoyed pre-lockdown.

An array of operating regulations have to be observed, from registering customers upon entrance to making sure people are spaced at least one meter (3.3 feet) apart from the members of another household if other measures to keep people safe are in place, such as using hand sanitizers. The wearing of masks is optional, even for staff,

Still, customers said the rigmarole was worth it.

“It’s not the drink, it’s the banter with everyone else,” said Frank Green, a regular of The Shropshire Arms, in the northwest England city of Chester.

One city that is not participating in the easing is Leicester, in central England. The government reimposed lockdown restrictions there, including the closure of schools and nonessential shops, after a spike in new infections. Police are out in force in the city to make sure people adhere to the local lockdown.

One local resident, Ali Patel, said some people just hadn’t taken the virus as seriously as they should have and that’s why Leicester is in lockdown again.

“Some people took it seriously and other people didn’t, and it just shows that the people who didn’t turned out to spread it more,” he said.


Pints poured, unkempt hairdos cut, as England eases lockdown

Pints poured, unkempt hairdos cut, as England eases lockdown

Pints poured, unkempt hairdos cut, as England eases lockdown

Pints poured, unkempt hairdos cut, as England eases lockdown

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read