What can you do from today?
- All non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen, as will hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes can reopen for outdoor service, but will have to wait until at least May 17 to serve customers indoors.
- Mass testing to be available, with everyone urged to take two tests per week.
- New care home rules will allow residents to have two visitors, rather than just one.
- Self-catering accommodation, including campsites, can reopen, but hotels and B&Bs must remain closed until at least May 17.
- Shops will be allowed to stay open until 10pm, six days a week, in a bid to reduce crowding.
- The maximum number of people allowed to attend weddings and wakes will rise from six to 15.
- Public buildings can reopen, as can outdoor attractions such as theme parks and zoos.
- Controversial hospitality rules such as the 10pm curfew and requirement to buy a ‘substantial meal’ with alcohol will be dropped.
- Clothes shops will be allowed to reopen their changing rooms for the first time in more than a year.
Britons today kicked off ‘the Glorious Twelfth’ in style, with thirsty drinkers already sipping on pints, long queues forming outside shops and punters rushing for a long overdue haircut or trip to the gym.
Chilly temperatures dipping to -3C overnight and snow flurries in some areas this morning did little to put off eager patrons who were seen nursing pints minutes after midnight at pubs in Coventry, Newcastle and London.
Others had different priorities and headed straight to the hairdressers to fix their lockdown hair after months of isolation – while eager shoppers were even seen running to a JD Sports of Oxford Street to get their hands on some rare trainers.
There will be plenty of sun around today but revellers will need to wrap up warm, with average midday temperatures ranging from 6C (42.8F) in the Scottish isles to 12C (53.6F) in Cornwall and 10C (50F) in London.
Britons today poked fun at their eagerness to grab a drink despite the cold, with one posting a hilarious meme of a snowman sitting in a beer garden.
As of Saturday afternoon, 32,010,244 Britons had received the first dose of the vaccination, with a further 6,991,310 having had their second, as the UK recorded 1,730 new Covid cases – down a quarter on last week.
Despite the promising figures, Boris Johnson last night urged Britons to ‘behave responsibility’ as they make the most of the new rules. Meanwhile, the Met and Northumbria Police sent extra patrols into city centres to prepare for the deluge of revellers.
The vaccine programme coupled with the ‘palpable sense of excitement’ is expected to make this post-lockdown reopening the strongest yet, with customers are predicted to spend £4.5billion this week.
More than half of hospitality businesses that are opening have splashed out to make outdoor areas bigger, spending an average of £9,040 on each venue, according to industry group UKHospitality.
Pubs have been flooded with bookings, with the British Beer and Pub Association predicting the nation will get through 15million pints this week.
In other Covid news –
- People in their 40s will be invited for Covid jabs from tomorrow after the Government hit its target on vaccinations for priority groups;
- Kate Garraway revealed her children are ‘absolutely loving’ having their father Derek home after his long Covid battle;
- England footballers James Maddison and Harvey Barnes were among five Leicester City players who ‘hid in the dark after manager Brendan Rogers caught them at a Covid lockdown-flouting party’;
- Officers apologised to churchgoers after shutting down their Good Friday service for breaking Covid lockdown rules;
- Students’ university comeback was delayed until mid-May amid fears mass return to lecture halls could spark a huge spike in Covid cases.
Customers queue this morning outside Primark in Birmingham city centre on ‘the Glorious Twelfth’ – when non-essential retail reopens
Customers toast as they enjoy a drink at the Switch bar in Newcastle shortly after midnight to toast the reopening of pubs
Motorists drive through heavy snow in Wimbledon, south-west London this morning in bizarre scenes for the time of the year
A cyclist cycles across Wimbledon Common in south-west London this morning amid an unseasonable snow shower
People out walking at Clayfield Copse in Berkshire this morning, which was one of the areas to be blanketed by snow
Shoppers sprinted towards JD Sports in Oxford Street in astonishing scenes this morning amid a sale of rare trainers – many of which are sold on online
Nothing could stop these punters outside JD Sports, who were seen running to get into the queue outside the branch on Oxford Street
Huge crowds form outside JD Sports on Oxford street in a rush to buy sportswear after it opened early this morning
Dozens of people were queuing outside Primark in Liverpool even before opening today, with shoppers keen to grab bargains
Revellers sitting outside the Oak Inn on Gosford Street in Coventry city centre after it opened at one minute past midnight
People attend a strength and conditioning class this morning at Ultimate Fitness Gym in Wallsend, north-east England
Early morning shoppers stand in line outside Primark, Birmingham, waiting for the store to reopen as England takes another step back towards normality
Happy shoppers were already coming out laden with bags this morning from the Primark at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex
Shoppers inside Primark on Oxford Street – the store is particularly popular after lockdowns because it does not do online sales
Kelly Boad, owner of Hair & Beauty Gallery in Warwick, gives Sue Butcher a haircut as non-essential businesses reopened at midnight
Secret spa hair stylist Nas Ganev cuts the hair of Amy Pallister, 27, just after midnight at her home in Balham
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said it was a ‘big day’ for reopening businesses, and that many were ‘excited and desperate’ to welcome customers back.
‘It’s a big day for the country and it’s a big day for all of these businesses reopening their doors today,’ she told Sky News.
‘They are very excited and desperate to welcome their customers back (with) the focus on safety.’
Ms Dickinson said that retailers were now used to preparing to reopen their doors, having experienced the process during previous lockdowns, but added that customers also had a ‘part to play’.
‘Because they’ve been through this process before… they would have been ready the last week or the week before, and are just keen and enthusiastic to welcome us back,’ she said.
‘Members of the public have a part to play in following the signage, the guidance that we get given queueing if we need to… and all of the safety features that are in place. We have a role too.’
Oh SNOW! Britain is hit by April flurries overnight – and wrap up warm today as it will remain chilly
Pub-goers will need to wrap up warm today, as chilly temperatures are forecast for the first day of outdoor hospitality reopenings in England.
It comes after Britain was hit with a flurry of April snow, sleet and hail showers overnight.
The Met Office has said the morning will be bright in the north, while areas in the southern half of the UK are likely to be hit by a rain front moving eastwards throughout the day.
Along with beer gardens and outdoor dining areas, non-essential shops, hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos in England will also be opening for the first time this year.
Following a cold April weekend where many areas experienced a light dusting of snow, temperatures of between 0C (32F) and -2C (28.4F) are expected in the early hours of the morning across Britain.
Heavy rain and hill snow is also forecast for Northern Ireland and west Wales in the morning.
The Met Office has said rain showers will move south-eastwards throughout the day, hitting the Midlands by mid-morning and reaching the south coast by the afternoon and into the evening.
No flood warnings were in place on Sunday night, but the Environment Agency has issued six lower-level alerts for scattered locations in south-west England where flooding is possible.
Meanwhile, people in northern England and Scotland can expect to see a cold but sunny and dry start to the week.
Average midday temperatures range from 6C (42.8F) in the Scottish isles to 12C (53.6F) in Cornwall, with 10C (50F) forecast for London and 7C (44.6F) in Manchester.
A chilly night is due to follow on Tuesday, with freezing temperatures forecast across the UK.
The rest of the week is set to be cold but dry, the Met Office has said.
One of the first shops to re-open along London’s Oxford Street, traditionally one of the busiest shopping areas in the country, was Primark, which started letting in customers at 7am.
Jessica Palmerston, 35 from Walthamstow, East London who arrived at the popular store soon after it opened for business told MailOnline: ‘I have been waiting for Primark to reopen for the past three months.
‘I hate shopping online, I love going into this shop because it’s a real buzz when you see the latest fashions and people getting excited about clothes.’
She revealed that she had bought an assortment of socks, underwear and tee-shirts for herself and her children.
Ms Palmerston added: ‘Pri-Mani is the best and it’s wonderful to be able to return here. There’s nothing like filling up your basket with lots of treats; we deserve it because we’ve suffered enough.’
Nala Bee, 25 arrived at the store with her friend Ryan C.
She said: ‘We got up at 7am to get here before it gets too busy. I’ve really missed the shops not being open. I hate online shopping. I love going shopping, try things on and have a bit of fun. It’s my therapy, it’s what makes me happy.
‘I’m after socks and jumpers and am going to buy as much as I can because during this lockdown, I’ve managed to save a bit of money.’
Lesley Black, 47 who was accompanied by her daughter Demi, 20 said: ‘Between us we’ve spent about £200 on underwear and pyjamas.
‘It feels wonderful to be back in the shops and we’re going to spend the whole day shopping. Both of us love spending a day at the shops and we’ve really missed it during the lockdown. Luckily, I’ve got some money saved so I now plan to spend it all.’
Nicki Butler, 26 from Tottenham, North London who had just purchased some jogging bottoms and a blouse said: ‘Money has been a bit tight, so it’s been hard to afford the delivery charges, which is why I haven’t done much online shopping.
‘Nothing beats walking into a shop, looking around and trying on clothes. I’ve really missed getting my retail therapy.’
John Ferguson, 33 who had just purchased two pairs of socks and some underpants said: ‘I work as a security guard in the West End and had just finished a night shift so thought I’d pop in early before it gets too busy.
‘It’s good for the economy that shops have reopened but we just have to make sure everything is Covid secure because I don’t want to see the country in another lockdown. Today feels really great because it’s a sign that life is slowly returning to normal.’
Shanti Bhardwaj, who was with her two children said that they had decided to come to the West End to enjoy some shopping after spending ‘months locked up.’
She said: ‘I know online shopping is very popular but there’s nothing like having a day out at the shops.
‘The kids are on their Easter holidays, so we thought we’d have a day out in Central London shopping and doing other nice things. It feels as if we’ve been let out of prison and it’s wonderful to be able to start doing normal things again.’
She added: ‘We plan to get some lunch a bit later and will hopefully find a nice place where we can sit outdoors.’
Cleaner Georgina Okie, 48, queued for 45 minutes to be one of the first to shop in Primark in Manchester city centre.
She said: “I am so happy the shops are open. It feels like the first step back to normality. I was desperate to come and shop and buy some jeans. I felt really safe.”
The Primark Store at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex reopened early this morning and was already bustling with shoppers
More than 100 shoppers queued outside the world’s biggest Primark in Birmingham this morning as non-essential shops opened for the first time in months.
A large queue forms outside the Nike Town shop on London’s Oxford Street this morning as shoppers rushed to make the most of restrictions easing
Today is expected to mark the start of a major boost for the high street, with millions flocking to shops to spend their lockdown savings
A woman inside a shop on Oxford Street, where many retailers opened their doors early to capitalise on the early rush
Crowds of shoppers inside an Oxford Street shop this morning on the first day of a splurge of spending that will boost the economy
Around 61% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to official figures suggesting that more than 32 million people have received a jab. More than 14% have had both doses
After three months of full national lockdown, the Government said on Sunday that a further seven people had died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, bringing the UK total to 127,087
The Government said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 1,730 lab-confirmed cases in the UK. It brings the total to 4,369,775
At specialist hair and beauty salon Strand & Lock in the Custard Factory in the heart of Birmingham’s creative quarter in Digbeth, staff welcomed their first customer in months.
Amy Smith – who had not been to a stylist since before the original lockdown last year – said she was ‘thrilled’ to be back at a salon.
‘It’s great to be here, I’ve been going with this weird little top knot for a few months now,’ she said.
‘I’m going to a go to a beer garden experience later, so it’s going to be good.’
It came as Boris Johnson declared today ‘a major step towards freedom’ but warned people to behave carefully.
‘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,’ he 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.’
Beauty therapists wasted little time ushering in the easing of lockdown restrictions across England as long-awaited hair and beauty treatments began when the clock struck twelve.
Today marks the first time salons and hairdressers are able to treat customers since the third national lockdown was legally imposed in England on January 6.
Pub gardens and restaurants are now also allowed to welcome customers, along with indoor gyms, swimming pools and shops deemed non-essential.
One of the beauty companies delivering midnight services was Secret Spa, which offers at-home salon and spa treatments at home across London, Manchester and Brighton.
Despite sub-zero temperatures, keen shoppers arrived well in advance of Monday’s 7am reopening time at Birmingham’s huge Primark
The retail giant, which has extended opening hours for the first initial week, was the first fashion store to open today in Birmingham city centre
A further 100 people have since headed inside with the hope of beating the rush. All non-essential retail has been allowed to reopen today as part of the latest easing of the Covid-19 lockdown
Debenhams, H&M and IKEA are just some of the stores that will be reopening once again in the heart of Birmingham (Pictured: Primark)
Walkers stroll through Wimbledon Common in south-west London this morning in unusual wintery scenes for the time of the year
Wimbledon (pictured) was not the only part of the country to see snow, with several areas experiencing flurries overnight and this morning
A car makes its way through a snowy street in Wimbledon, as elsewhere shoppers rushed to high streets and retail parks
A walker holds up an umbrella against the flurries at Clayfield Copse in Berkshire, in an unusual scene given we are already into spring
There were heavy snowfalls in Berkshire (pictured) this morning and flurries across many parts of the country last night
At the stroke of midnight, co-owner Emily Ewart-Perks, alongside hair stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson, visited a home in Balham, south London to offer their long-awaited services to clients Amy Pallister and Isabella Robinson.
‘It’s so amazing. It’s just been such a long time coming,’ Ms Ewart-Perks said.
‘I know that our therapists are just so happy to be working with clients again.
‘Everyone has really missed the social contact of the day-to-day job and making clients happy. We haven’t been able to do that for the best part of five-to-six months.’
For Ms Ewart-Perks, the reopening announcement was initially met with a measure of apprehension.
She said: ‘When Boris (Johnson) made the announcement that close contact beauty therapy could go ahead, I think a lot of people had been waiting for the news, just to be 100% sure, because the last reopening from lockdown we were given dates and then the dates were delayed.
‘It was kind of staggered. It was hair first, then treatments to the body, and we had to wait ages for treatments to the face. So we had to do a lot of cancelling and moving appointments on that lockdown reopening.
‘So I think people were very nervous (this time around), and when it was confirmed we just saw a surge of bookings.’
Britons today poked fun at their eagerness to grab a drink despite the cold, with one posting a meme of a snowman sitting in a beer garden
Excited Britons shared amusing memes about today’s reopening, with some more keen to go out and make the most of it than others
It was that surge in demand which prompted Ms Ewart-Perks to offer midnight services.
‘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?’
‘And then we’re filling a lot of people in at dawn – a lot of 6am haircuts. Which is amazing, because people are going to have their hair cut and blowdried and then they can get on a Zoom call.
‘The first day back is going to be double our best-ever day to date. I can’t believe we’re here.’
Ms Pallister, who received the first hair cut of the day, said the return of beauty services could not have come sooner.
‘(The haircut) feels amazing, I can’t stop touching it,’ she said. ‘(It’s been) about seven or eight months, since my last one, so I had some very split ends. I’m very impatient, so I didn’t want to wait. (I booked it) as soon as they could fit me in.’
With her hair now in order, Ms Pallister said her personal celebration of lockdown easing has only just begun.
She said: ‘A bit of self-care and pampering definitely makes you feel better, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into the pub gardens and feeling a bit more like myself, rather than being cooped up indoors.
‘I’ve got an excuse to get my nails done and put my makeup on and just enjoy life a bit more now. I’m also hoping my new haircut will get me a date. I’ve been single for a long time now, so I reckon it’ll help.’
For many venues today will be the first revenue since England’s January 5 lockdown. The unpredictable weather remained the number one worry.
There is also confusion among landlords who have been told their outdoor seating does not qualify as outdoors according to government guidance.
Shelters and temporary structures must have half the walls open at all times to count as outdoors.
But local councils are interpreting the rules differently leaving some landlords and restaurant owners in the lurch on the eve of their supposed reopening.
One landlord has been told his walled garden pub cannot reopen despite having taken more than 1,000 bookings.
Another publican in Brighton told The Telegraph he was ‘devastated’ that his pub could not reopen even though it has a substantial outdoor space.
But other landlords are excited for the influx of customers despite reservations about the weather.
Eager patrons queued outside The Oak Inn in Coventry at midnight on Sunday as Covid restrictions were partially eased, allowing for beer gardens to open
A group of eager drinkers enjoy a pint at the Kentish Belle in Bexley Heath at a minute past midnight as the Covid restrictions were eased
A group of six friends made the most of the new rules by flocking straight to the Oak Inn in Coventry for a long-awaited drink
The Coventry establishment is licensed until 6am, and also plans to sell food throughout the night, such as pizzas, burgers and kebabs
The midnight drinks were a long time coming for punters who have been forced to stay away from pubs, bars and restaurants for months
While many pubs will have to remain shut because they cannot offer outdoor space, others had a headstart by opening their doors at midnight
The dedicated patrons of The Oak Inn in Coventry enjoy their first post-lockdown pints just minutes after midnight
Many pubs are fully booked this week as people relish the opportunity to have a drink at an establishment for the first time in months
Secret Spa tan artist Magdelaine Gibson prepares client Isabella Robinson, 27, before giving her a spray tan
Five housemates desperate for a trim and tan booked Secret Spa stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson to visit their home at one minute past midnight
A barman is seen pulling a pint at a pub as they prepare to open their gardens after months of restrictions
Henry Cripps, from the Three Oaks pub in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, said: ‘We realise that almost everything for the next five weeks is weather dependent so we have everything crossed for sun. We couldn’t wait to see our regulars, so we have invested heavily in our garden.’
Some restrictions have eased since pubs were last open. Customers will not need to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and there will be no 10pm curfew. But Boris Johnson has postponed his planned celebratory pint because of Prince Philip’s death on Friday.
However, a green group has warned the rush to drink and dine outdoors will cause a spike in air pollution from gas burning patio heaters. Oliver Lord, of Environmental Defence Fund Europe, said: ‘We need to support the hospitality sector to bounce back safely and use electric heaters, which are far cleaner and more efficient.’
Hairdressers are also booked up for weeks. Joanna Hansford, 46, who runs a high-end salon in Mayfair with her mother Jo, has 2,000 clients booked in for April and was opening at 5am this morning.
She said: ‘We’re very excited, it’s been a long lockdown and it has been a lot tougher.’
The drinks were flowing at the establishments which opened up for the first time in months at midnight on Monday morning
It is expected to be a bumper week for the pub industry after months of closures as people make the most of their new freedoms
Despite it being a Sunday night, many people across the country headed straight to the pub the minute they reopened