Brits flock to pubs to enjoy last Saturday before ‘rule of six’ hits


Hot weather across much of England has brought crowds out into parks, cafes and bars as people made the most of the final opportunity to meet up in large groups before new rules come into place.

Temperatures climbed in the last weekend before the ‘rule of six’ is imposed on socialising in the UK, giving people a chance to enjoy a balmy weekend in the sun. 

The public has been urged to avoid a ‘one last blow out’ mentality but Brits followed up a boozy Friday night with a sun-drenched Saturday session.

In London’s Soho, outdoor eating areas were busy well into the evening and parks across the capital also attracted crowds.

In Leicester Square, a large group was seen enjoying a spontaneous party as a busker played the keyboard and revellers sung along. 

The new rules restricting groups to no more than six people apply both indoors and outdoors In England and Scotland from Monday – just as temperatures are expected to rise to their highest levels since the early August heatwave. 

It’s not known how long the new restrictions will last but health officials have told the country to prepare to live under the rules for ‘months rather than weeks.’

With travel abroad restricted, Brits have made the most of the UK’s best beach spots on sunny days this summer. This has led to concerns about overcrowding and difficulties with observing social distancing.

In Brighton today, crowds were pictured enjoying themselves on the seafront and sitting in outdoor restaurants although there was no repeat of the packed scenes seen in July and August.

The weather has not been quite so good in the north of England and Scotland. The Met Office has issued a weather warning for western Scotland where as much as 150mm of rain could fall in hilly areas on Sunday.

In Newcastle, one of the areas added to the Government’s watch list as an ‘area of concern’ on Friday, health officials have said they trust people to ‘behave sensibly’. 

Newcastle upon Tyne’s director of health Eugene Milne has dampened fears that people would be going all out this weekend.

He told Tyne Tees TV News: ‘At the opening of lockdown there was a real fear that that might happen in the city, and that didn’t happen so I think we can trust people.

‘The idea of the rule of six is to make it easier for people to know how to stick with the guidance and I think one of the big problems has been the guidance has progressively got so complicated, so specific to particular areas that it becomes very confusing for everybody.’

Dave Stone, a director of the Wylam Brewery and one of the founders of the By The River Brew Co, a popular food and drink venue on the Quayside, was equally confident.

He said: ‘We agree with the director of public health and believe people will be sensible.’

Tim Robson, the North East’s representative on the national Pubwatch scheme, expected that police officers will strictly monitor bars over the weekend to ensure they are operating safely.

He said: ‘There is an anticipation that everyone is going to have a big last binge, but people are starting to get fearful and a lot of licensed premises have already been clamped down on by the police.’

Mr Robson, a former police officer, said it will be up to licensees to manage their premises and break up large groups from gathering together unsafely.

He said a recent outbreak at a working men’s club that hosted a charity football match, leading to more than 60 people testing positive and around 300 people self-isolating, had concentrated minds.


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