Crowds Of Drunk Londoners Pack Soho Streets As Lockdown Eases
Brits ventured out as pubs and restaurants opened their doors for the first time in months yesterday, though unfortunately not everyone remembered to keep their distance.
While Americans celebrated Independence Day on Saturday, July 4, Brits celebrated their own kind of freedom as government plans to ease us out of lockdown allowed some of our best-loved establishments to welcome customers once again.
For the first time since March, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England and Northern Ireland could allow guests to sit inside, though they can only operate under certain restrictions, for example limited numbers, mandatory table service and protective screens.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged members of the public to behave ‘safely and sensibly’ while out and about, but when there’s alcohol involved that can be easier said than done.
Though Metropolitan Police said there were ‘no significant issues’ in London, images shared online show hundreds of people gathering in the streets of the capital, particularly in the Soho district.
One video, seen below, shows drinkers standing in groups outside pubs and bars, apparently completely dismissive of the fact that coronavirus is still very much a threat.
The virus is spread from person to person through droplets, so the government is still urging people to stay at least one metre away from others where possible.
Distancing would have been hard to enforce in the crowded streets of Soho, though, and inhibitions and common sense would have likely been at an all time low amid the excitement of being able to drink and socialise again.
This morning ‘Sherlock’ started trending on Twitter, and you can see why:
John Apter of the Police Federation, an association for police staff in England and Wales, said the events of the day made it ‘crystal clear’ that drunk people can’t or won’t socially distance, BBC News reports.
It was a busy night but the shift managed to cope. I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock attempted to stem the concerns raised by Apter, telling Sky News that the ‘vast majority of people’ are ‘doing the right thing’.
Overall I’m pleased with what happened yesterday, it was really good to see people out and about and very largely social distancing.
While photos make clear there were some issues with social distancing, police have thanked the majority of people for acting responsibly, indicating some members of the public were able to maintain precaution.
There is still a long way to go with regards to coronavirus, and it’s important that we don’t lose sight of how far we have come and undo our efforts to prevent the spread. While we’ve all missed going to the pub, we can’t let our enthusiasm for things to get back to ‘normal’ cause a second wave.
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