The streets of Soho in central London were crowded last night with drinkers desperate to sip their first pints in bars in over 100 days due to the lockout.
Clips posted online show joyful people celebrating and engaging closely with those around them.
However, the government has advised the British to keep one meter away from the rest despite the reopening of bars and restaurants on Saturday July 4.
One man, who crossed busy roads, told Mirror Online: “Walking on old Compton Street looked like wading in a petri dish.
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“And it was around 4:30 pm. There was not much chance of being socially distanced even when walking on the street.”
Another video shared online shows a man turning against a car trying to navigate the crowd. The twerker is moved, but the car has trouble crossing Soho as other drinkers enter the road.
In each video, police officers are seen, but clearly more numerous than the drinkers.
But police had warned that Saturday night would be as busy as New Years Eve for forces across England.
Nevertheless, the ugly scenes sparked a furious reaction on social networks.
A shocked woman wrote on Twitter: “I just saw scenes if the Soho pubs … my heart goes to the health workers and their families who died from Covid to save us … disgusting disrespect . ”
And a man shared a video of groups gathered in the streets, writing, “The locking of Soho is over.”
Another was annoyed: “I just saw the scenes of Soho. It is as if the health workers who risked their lives trying to cope with the pandemic were just wasting their time.”
And Borough Market, also in the capital, was teeming with drinkers sipping sparkling pints. They too were gathered in the street.
Experts have predicted that pub lovers will be pouring 15 million pints into 23,000 establishments across England on Saturday alone. Some opened at 6 a.m. to meet demand.
But the prices of beer, wine, cider and spirits soared as pubs, including Wetherspoons, were desperately trying to catch up.
Nevertheless, people were lining up to enter certain pubs across England. There was a wait of about an hour just to get into The Regal, a Wetherspoon spoon in Cambridge.
Meanwhile, A&E has prepared for an increase in the number of alcohol-fed patients by setting up tents outside hospitals to keep people socially distant while they wait.
Devon and Cornwall police reported receiving more than 1,000 reports, most of which were “drink related”, while West Yorkshire police were called for “safety concerns” in a village pub near Bradford.
While the drink was running and anger was mounting, four people were arrested at Brentwood High Street, Essex. following a “disturbance”. In Nottinghamshire, some pub owners have decided to close after incidents of anti-social behavior.
However, in Leicester, where a local foreclosure was imposed due to a spike in coronavirus cases, police said there were “more duty officers than New Years Eve” – to prevent people try to sneak out of town to reach pubs outside the lockdown area.