Normal life still feels a long way off, but that hasn’t stopped pubs adapting to the lockdown to help Brits make the most of the hottest day of the year.
Boozers were selling pints to go as people flocked to the streets amid temperatures of over 27°C today. While the lockdown is yet to be lifted, many businesses have been allowed to operate solely as takeaways.
Punters have been taking advantage of bars and cafes at Broadway Market in Hackney, east London, picking up beers and pizza as they soak up the sunshine. In late April the borough’s mayor Phil Glanville said the council promised to take action over social distancing concerns.
Taking to Twitter, he said: ‘Let me be clear selling or buying takeaway alcohol or similar is not essential during lockdown, and I’m sure not what the Government had in mind when it made it easier for premises to offer “takeaway”. I was sent and saw the scenes in Broadway Market and on all fronts unacceptable.’
Last month he told the Hackney Gazette: ‘Police and council enforcement officers were deployed to the area on Sunday, and, from this weekend, we are proposing to suspend parking, close Broadway Market to through-traffic and deploy additional police and council officers to advise people and businesses to stick to the guidance.’
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Officers in the capital have admitted they are ‘fighting a losing battle’ as hundreds flocked to parks to enjoy the sunshine during the May Bank Holiday. Hackney Police wrote on Twitter: ‘#OpPIMA and sadly we’re fighting a losing battle in the parks today. Literally hundreds of people sitting having pizza, beers, wines. As always a big thank you to those that are observing the guidelines.’
According to the government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, restaurants, bars and pubs could be open fully by July, although it is likely social distancing measures will still have to be adhered to.
Today Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country will have 25,000 virus tracing staff recruited by next month so the country can ‘make progress’ in its strategy to keep easing restrictions.
If they reach their target, the team are expected to be able to trace the contacts of 10,000 new cases a day. The currently level is 2,400.
The Government is under pressure to get them in place to operate alongside a smartphone tracing app. If these large-scale prevention tactics can start last month it is hoped it will be easier to lift the lockdown without triggering a second spike.
Today in Parliament Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the Government for not already having an effective system in place nearly 10 weeks into the lockdown. He called it a ‘huge hole’ in the country’s defence against Covid-19.
Downing Street has admitted that the NHSX app will not be ready for launch by June 1, when the next stage of the easing of lockdown is expected.
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