After three months of inactivity, the hairdressers have pruned Saturday, their first manes, and the pubs served their first pints of beer on-site, marking a major milestone in the release of the confinement in England, fears of excess and new infections with the coronavirus.
“My hair was in shambles, I had to use hats to hide “, playing Sandra Jacobs, one of the first clients to go through, starting at midnight, the doors of a hair salon in the london borough of Camden. Despite wearing a mask, and the protection screens, the first cut is ” such a relief, you have no idea ! “, she says to the british agency PA.
In the city of Runcorn (west of England), Jennifer Wilson and Louise Arnold are also not wanted to lose a minute : the two women have said ” yes ” to midnight, becoming the first couple to marry since the introduction of the confinement on march 23, to limit the spread of the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
Entered late in the containment, the United Kingdom is even more lagging behind compared to its european neighbours to get out. Far from being defeated, the virus which has killed 44,000 people in the country (the heavier balance sheet in Europe) has picked up in Leicester, leading the authorities to reconfiner a zoe of 600 000 inhabitants.
But across England, pubs, hotels, hairdressing salons, cinemas and museums reopened their doors Saturday, a restart is judged, however, too quick by the other british provinces, have adopted their own timetable for déconfinement.
In a pub in north London, Andrew Slawinski, 54 years old, enjoyed his first pint (a Guinness) for three months. It is ” beautiful “, he says, ” It’s like winning the Premier League “. Service at the table rather than the bar, signage, dedicated, maintaining the aloofness physical, the user-friendliness of the pubs is no longer the same in this ” new normal “.
But Clive Watson, founder of City Pub Group, which consists of 47 pubs in the south of England and Wales, is, however, expected to one day be “historic” for the sector : “It has been incredibly hard for us and our customers.” The closure of pubs, not seen since the plague of 1665, led to a decline unprecedented in the consumption of beer.
Their opening could attract this weekend with 6.5 million visitors, according to the think tank CEBR. But by the end of the year, the British Beer and Pub Association, fears the closure of 40 % of the pubs, or 18 000 institutions unable to get up.
“Clowns drunk “
A visit to a pub in west london, the minister of Finance Rishi Sunak has welcomed Saturday morning the “good news” of the re-opening of pubs and bars, reminding them that they were a “vital element” of the british economy, employing nearly ” half a million people “. In an interview with the Times, the minister encouraged the British to “eat out to support” employment in the catering industry.
But the reopening is not without concern vis-à-vis health risks that would cause a possible rush in pubs. In a joint statement, representatives of hotels, pubs and the police were called on the customers to behave in a way “responsible” and to help professionals ” to re-open in the best possible way “.
The police expects an activity as important as during one day of the Year, explained Tim Clarke, of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers. According to him, it could be for the forces of the order of ” all except one “super Saturday” “.
The hospitals, which blow just after the peak of the pandemic, fear of increased pressure. “Before the COVID-19, Friday and Saturday, the emergencies were sometimes like a circus filled with clowns drunk,” said Brian Booth, head of the federation of police officers in West Yorkshire. “We don’t need it again “.
The English will be so many to cross the threshold of their favorite pub ? According to a survey YouGov for Sky News, 70 % of those surveyed did not feel comfortable with the idea of going to the pub or to the cinema, 60 % to the idea of going to a restaurant.