'Out of control' party night in England after pubs reopen
The reopening of pubs in England, after more than three months of confinement, caused excesses and "dangerous" situations on Saturday night, and fears a re-emergence of the new coronavirus epidemic.
The crowd started arriving from 1:00 pm and quickly everything got out of control, says Rafal Liszewski, the manager of a store on one of the busiest streets in London's Soho neighborhood.
At 8:00-9:00PM, there was a real street party, with people dancing and drinking, says the 36-year-old woman, adding that no one wore a mask and was physically impossible to social distance.
Only in England did pubs, hotels, hairdressers, cinemas and museums reopen on Saturday, a move deemed too premature by the other British provinces, which adopted their own de-confinement calendar.
The pubs in Wales and Scotland plan to partially open in about ten days.
This 'Super Saturday', highly anticipated by the English, very fond of their pubs, raised concern. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had recalled that it was absolutely vital that everyone respect the rules on social distance.
The United Kingdom is the country in Europe most affected by the pandemic, with more than 44,000 deaths.
The pubs themselves imposed a series of measures to reduce health risks, such as table service rather than in the bar, specific signage, physical distance, wearing a mask and gloves for employees, in addition to providing hydro-alcohol gel.
However, this Sunday morning several photos of alcoholics and people outside the sanitary slogans flooded social networks and newspapers.
An image taken by an AFP photographer on a Soho street shows several people falling on top of each other.
Soho is transformed into a gigantic street party, where drinkers ignore the rules of social distance, the weekly Sunday Mirror headlines.
In Devon and Cornwall, local police explained in a tweet that they had treated more than 1,000 calls overnight, most linked to alcohol use.
It is clear how that drunk people cannot and will not maintain social distance, John Apter, president of the Police Federation tweeted.
A policeman on duty Saturday night in Southampton (southern England) recounts that he spent the night trying to appease naked men, happy drunkards and angry drunkards fighting battles.
Several pubs had to close their doors to the massive flow of customers, such as the "Red Lion" in Rotherham (central England).
The establishment explains on Facebook that it had to call the police since it was quickly literally flooded by dozens of consumers after the security forces closed other pubs in the vicinity, creating a dangerous situation.
On Sky News Sunday, Health Minister Matt Hancock added: According to what I have seen, and even if there are images that show the contrary, people have acted very largely in a responsible way.
The minister declared himself overall satisfied with the way that 'Super Saturday' unfolded, and promised to take action against the minority that violates the rules.
According to the forecasts of the CEBR reflection circle, the reopening of pubs was to bring together some 6.5 million customers this weekend and generate 210 million pounds (EUR 233 million, $266 million).