Lockdown-weary Britons are today demanding ‘let us back in the pubs now’ after last weekend’s bank holiday washout.
Hundreds of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants decided to close early on Monday’s May Day Bank Holiday, as wet and windy weather put a dampener on the three-day weekend.
And forecasters warn more bad weather could be on the way, with experts predicting a week-long cold snap – which could see temperatures drop to -2C.
Now al fresco drinkers and pub landlords are calling on Boris Johnson to get indoor areas of cafes, restaurants and bars open ahead of May 17 – when the Government hopes to allow indoor areas to reopen.
Many took to Twitter to out their frustration, with one saying: ‘What a complete flop of a bank holiday weekend!
‘Saturday’s meal out and drinks cancelled. Yesterday’s drinks out cancelled. Today’s lunch out cancelled. Let us inside the pubs.’
Hundreds of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants to close early on Monday’s May Day Bank Holiday as wet and windy weather put a dampener on the three-day weekend. Pictured:
Forecasters warn more bad weather could be on the way, with experts predicting a week-long cold snap – which could see temperatures drop to -2C
Pub-goers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all been given the green light to return to watering-holes after lockdown, but only in outdoor areas
Others backed the calls, saying being kept out of pubs despite Britain’s plunging Covid infection rates was ‘madness’.
One Twitter user, speaking ahead of the bank holiday washout, said: ‘The weather forecast for the bank holiday Monday where I live is dire.
‘Let us inside the bloody pubs for goodness sake. This is madness.’
Another, from Northern Ireland, said: ‘Just open pubs inside. Enough is enough. Not enjoyable eating and drinking in the wind and rain.
‘Hopefully the executive will bring dates forward to May 17.’
One pub landlord shared a picture of his wet and empty beer garden, saying: ‘If we are following dates not data, let us inside pubs.’
Another pub-goer wrote: ‘It’s just fat too cold to eat or drink outside.’
Others joked that the weather would pick-up again as soon as indoor restrictions were lifted, with one saying: ‘As soon as the pubs reopen there will be a heatwave and no-one will want to sit inside.’
It comes as revellers were forced to brave downpours across the bank holiday weekend, as they streamed back to pub beer gardens to make the most of the easing of Covid restrictions.
A group of hardy pub goers were spotted an outdoor pint in the pouring rain outside The Cranberry Farm pub, in Exeter, Devon, while others were seen holding blankets over their heads while sitting outside at a bar in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
Plummeting temperatures also saw a freak hail storm hit the Isle of Wight, leaving left fields looking more like a winter wonderland.
Driving winds and rain then led to a wash out on Bank Holiday Monday.
Dan Trivedi, of the Prince of Denmark pub on Sprowston Road, told the Eastern Daily Press thatMonday had been their worst day on record.
He told the paper: ‘With it being cold and really wet, it was just a wash-out. We have got lots of umbrellas but they can’t stop all of it.
We have taken more money in the quietest periods when we were doing takeaways.’
One pub in Hull decided to shut on Bank Holiday Monday due to the bad weather.
The Star Inn in Willerby posted on Facebook on Monday: ‘With heavy rain expected later today, we have decided not to open the beer garden today.’
Snow and ice blanketed the pitch for the Champions League semi final in Manchester, as temperatures plunged to freezing yesterday.
Snow and ice has blanketed the pitch for the Champions League semi final in Manchester (pictured), as temperatures plunged to 1C and wintery showers were forecast across swathes of the country
Today, temperatures are again set to dip below zero in some areas, with more bad weather on the way.
While the Met Office’s forecast for today initially looks optimistic, with sunny spells breaking through, experts have warned of snow in hilly areas of the north.
Areas of frost are also expected overnight in the UK on Thursday and Friday, before more rain and winds in the north.
There could then be more snow next week, according to the Met Office. However, in a ray of hope for the return of Spring, forecasters predict that temperatures could return to ‘near average’ later in the week.
Though the weather forecast looks dreary, Britain’s Covid forecast looks a lot brighter, according to experts.
Even the cautious Professor Neil Ferguson, nicknamed Professor Lockdown, says the data of Covid vaccines is ‘encouraging’.
And he said that he does not see ‘any prospect’ of the NHS being overwhelmed by Covid in the Autumn.
Professor Ferguson, who works at Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘If we’re going to see another wave of transmission that’s where it would take place.
‘But the data on the vaccines is getting ever more encouraging . . . so that has pushed our estimates of the scale of any potential autumn wave down.’
However, despite the positive outlook, hospitality chiefs were left dismayed yesterday when it was announced their High Court bid to get pubs reopened before May 17 had been thrown out.
Lawyers for Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond and Greater Manchester night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord had claimed there was no scientific justification for delaying the return of indoor hospitality while letting non-essential shops reopen.
However last night they hit out, saying judges had rejected their claim against Health Secretary Matt Hancock on the grounds that it was ‘academic’ as there wasn’t time for the court to hear it before May 17.
That is the date from which the next stage of easing England’s coronavirus restrictions is planned under the Government’s road map out of lockdown.
They also complained that a report by the Government’s advisory committee, Sage, on the risks of catching Covid from going to a restaurant or pub hadn’t been disclosed to them before its publication last Friday.
‘This case is not ‘academic’ for an industry that is losing £200million every day it remains closed, for the over three million people who work in our industry, or for the tens of thousands of businesses, suppliers, landlords and contractors forced into bankruptcy by Government measures,’ Mr Osmond said.
‘Our legal action gave them a fighting chance yet once again in 2021, the strong arm of the state has come crushing down on hope and aspiration.’ Calling for the reopening of indoor hospitality to be brought forward based on the Sage findings in order to ‘capitalise on the NHS’s brilliant vaccination rollout’, Mr Osmond said it was time to ‘follow the data rather than arbitary dates based on outdated models’.
Mr Lord added: ‘While this fight has always been an uphill battle, made harder by the Government’s delaying tactics and refusal to mediate, we are pleased that the case has shone a light on the hospitality sector and the unfair and unequal guidance within the recovery roadmap.’
He claimed credit for the pairs’ legal challenges for the decision not to return to the unpopular ‘substantial meal’ rule or 10pm curfew following the latest lockdown which he said had ‘undoubtedly saved many jobs throughout the industry’.
The undated Sage report published last Friday found there had been 343 Covid outbreaks in hospitality settings since the start of the pandemic.
It found that hospitality seems to be associated with greater risk of transmission than the leisure and retail sectors, particularly in ‘poorly ventilated and crowded indoor settings’.
But it said the proportion of cases across the population as a whole which could be attributed to such settings was ‘relatively low’, with staff at greater risk than customers.
The High Court judgement has yet to be published.
A UK government spokesperson said: ‘Our roadmap sets out a cautious approach to easing restrictions, based on the best scientific evidence available at the time. We published a full range of scientific papers alongside it on 22 February.
‘It is widely acknowledged that the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly less than indoors, which is why businesses have already been able to open in some outdoor settings, ahead of indoor hospitality later this month.
‘The government has supported the hospitality sector throughout this global pandemic, including our new £5 billion Restart Grant scheme, extending the furlough scheme and the VAT cut, and providing 750,000 businesses in hospitality and other sectors with business rates relief.’
Yesterday, Britain announced four more coronavirus deaths as the country recorded single-digit fatalities for the second day in a row.
The Department of Health’s daily update showed infections are also down more than a quarter compared to last week after 1,946 positive tests were processed in the past 24 hours.
It comes after just one Covid fatality was recorded on Monday. It is the first time there have been single-digit deaths for two days running since September 14.
The small number of deaths may be partly explained by the bank holiday, when the figures are often lower to due the way fatalities are logged. The seven-day rolling average number of daily Covid deaths is now 13.
People have also been less likely to come forward for tests on weekends or public holidays and many of the daily swabs are now conducted in schools and workplaces.
Meanwhile, latest figures show another 208,362 second vaccine doses were dished out across the UK on Sunday and 79,304 people were given their first injection.
It means 34.6million Britons — more than half — have been jabbed at least once and 15.6million — nearly a quarter of the population — have been fully vaccinated.