“Reasonable people” or “drunks” who have difficulty controlling themselves? The reopening of the English pubs, after more than three months of confinement, has led to overflows and situations “dangerous” in the night from Saturday to Sunday, raising fears of a return of the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
“The crowd has started to arrive [Saturday] to 13 h and, quickly, it all became out of control,” said Rafal Liszewski, managing director of a boutique in one of the most animated streets of the london district of Soho.
“Around 20 h, 21h, it was a real street party, with people dancing and drinking,” said the young woman of 36 years to the british agency PA, adding that “nobody was wearing a mask” and that it was “physically impossible” to comply with social distancing.
Such as hotels, hairdressing salons, cinemas and museums, the pubs have re-opened Saturday in England after more than three months of closure, in order to limit the spread of the epidemic. More reluctant, the other british provinces have adopted their own calendar of déconfinement, pubs, Wales and Scotland to re-open partially in a dozen days.
Massively expected by the English are very attached to their pubs, this “Super Saturday” had raised concerns, the police are waiting for an activity as important as during one day of the Year.
The prime minister, Boris Johnson, had recalled that it was “absolutely vital that everyone respects the rules of social distancing”, while the United Kingdom is the European country most affected by the epidemic, with over 44 000 deaths.
The pubs have also put in place a range of measures to reduce health risks, such as the service table, rather than at the bar, a label dedicated to it, wearing a mask and gloves for the employees, or even of the hydroalcoholic gel available.
“Naked men” and “drunks”
Sunday morning, however, many photos of British, joyously, alcoholic and indifferent to the safety instructions, have flooded social networks and newspapers. An image taken by a photographer of the AFP on a street of Soho shows of people falling on each other.
“Soho is transformed into a street party giant, drinkers are unaware of the rules of social distancing”, headlined the weekly Sunday Mirror. “It was like wading in a Petri dish”, denounced from the journal of a man who was trying to clear a path. “And yet, it was only 16: 30.”
In Devon and Cornwall (south-west), the local police said in a tweet to have treated more than 1000 reports last night, including “the majority was related to alcohol consumption”.
“It was clear as water of rock that people tipsy could not and were not going to maintain social distancing,” said in a tweet John Apter, chairman of the Federation police. Service Saturday evening, Southampton (south), the police officer said that he had spent his evening-to-manage “naked men, happy drunks, of drunks, angry, battles, and even more drunks in anger.”
Several pubs have had to close their doors because of the influx of unexpected people, such as the Red Lion in Rotherham (central England). The institution explains on Facebook have had to call the police, because he quickly found himself “literally flooded with tens and tens” of consumers unusual after the police have closed other pubs in the area, a situation that is “dangerous”.
Asked on Sunday by Sky News, the Health minister, Matt Hancock, has nuanced: “according To what I’ve seen, and even if there are images that show the opposite, the people have very largely acted responsibly.”
The minister said he is “generally satisfied” with the way took place on “Super Saturday”, promising to take action against the minority who broke the rules”.
According to the forecasts of the think tank CEBR, the re-opening of pubs had to draw this weekend, some 6.5 million visitors and generate 210 million pounds (approximately $ 355 million).