PUBS have reopened in England for the first time in months, with punters queuing up to get their hands on a poured pint.
Many pubs, gyms, salons and non-essential shops will open for the first time in 114 days today as the Covid lockdown eases.
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Keen punters were seen waiting patiently in line for pubs to open at midnight.
Shaggy-haired Brits also flocked to get their hair cut for the first time in months as salons reopened at midnight.
Pent-up demand will see £1.5billion — that’s £2.7million a minute — spent in venues and reopening attractions between 9am and 6pm.
Work leave requests for today are up almost 20 per cent.
Some bosses will let work-from-home staff pop out for a bargain or beer.
BrightHR, which monitors annual leave at more than 10,000 workplaces, said: “It’s fair to say April 12 is the most requested day off in the last year excluding Christmas, Easter and summer holidays.”
More than a million will visit pubs, with eight million in shops and millions more making day trips.
In the next week, 24 million people — half of England’s adult population — will go drinking or shopping.
The landlords of the Duke of Edinburgh pub have raised a toast to Prince Philip and urged the rest of England to do the same today as the country unlocks.
The unlocking comes 114 days since Boris Johnson announced Tier 4 restrictions that shut pubs and shops in the south, and 97 since the nationwide curfew on January 5.
Gyms will reopen from 6am today, with some Primark stores opening at 7am and many cafes from 8am.
And 20,000 pubs and 10,000 restaurants will serve outdoors to rule-of-six punters. Thousands more will offer takeaway drinks.
There will be no 10pm curfews and “substantial meal” barriers — but Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to stick to the rules on distancing and handwashing.
Some areas saw snow yesterday, and brewer Marston’s has kitted out some pubs such as The Manor House in Kinver, Staffs, with tepees to keep punters warm. Other pubs will offer hot-water bottles.
Among the first to open was the Kentish Belle in Bexleyheath, South East London, which served from a minute past midnight.
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