English drinkers enjoy pints at pubs again

By AAP Newswire

After more than three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, pubs in England have begun pouring pints as restrictions on public life continue to be relaxed in Britain.

Prince William enjoyed a pint of cider at the Rose and Crown pub in the Norfolk village of Snettisham, near his Anmer Hall country estate, on Friday evening ahead of the latest lockdown easing measures coming into force.

"I'm a cider man," the Duke of Cambridge said as the media's cameras rolled for his special visit.

After ordering he sat outside in the pub's garden terrace.

He was also filmed rubbing his hands with sanitiser.

Like some other pubs, the Rose and Crown has been open for several weeks to sell take-away drinks.

William's visit was a show of support for struggling bars and restaurants and comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government urges people to go out and spend money to revive the economy.

In the city of Chester, Bert Lockley told the Press Association news agency just how much he had been looking forward to this moment.

"I've missed this more than my missus when she left," he said as he sipped draught Guinness at the The Shropshire Arms pub.

Northern Ireland has allowed hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes to reopen.

Similar venues in Scotland and Wales are expected to follow suit in the coming week.

Police and politicians have raised concerns that the reopening of pubs, in particular, could encourage people to ignore social distancing rules and lead to spikes in infections.

To mitigate the chance of outbreaks, all customers are required to give their contact details to allow tracing.

Orders are only allowed at tables, or by app, to prevent crowding at the bar.

Many pubs have removed tables to help customers keep distant from each other.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak welcomed the reopening of pubs, calling the hospitality sector "a vital part" of Britain's economy.

"Britain's pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people - which is why it's such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely," Sunak said.

Restaurants, hairdressers, museums and libraries were also allowed to reopen their doors, subject to strict contact restriction measures.