People across the UK have been heading out in their droves this morning as the easing of lockdown continues. Today, hairdressers, gyms, non-essential shops, and beer gardens have opened across England as the easing of lockdown continues. Rules have also eased to differing extents in Wales and Scotland as managed by the devolved administrations.
Many took advantage of the sunshine to head out and do things they have been unable to do since last year due to lockdown. Beer gardens have been getting booked up over recent weeks and are likely to be busy for some time as people celebrate being able to have a drink - albeit outdoors. In addition, hairdressers have been getting booked up and are likely to be extremely busy over the coming weeks.
A sense of celebration
Many have described a sense of celebration in the air as people head out to enjoy the first day of greater freedom. Many shoppers have been queueing at stores to enjoy the chance to do some non-essential shopping while others have made arrangements to meet friends for drinks and lunch at outside venues.
Even the Prime Minister had been planning a celebratory pint today. However, he has put this plan on hold following the Duke of Edinburgh's death last Friday. He has, however, asked everyone to be sensible with their celebrations.
The reopening of these businesses and venues marks another critical phase in Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown. While businesses still have to enforce social distancing measures, for many people this is their first taste of freedom in months, and they are excited about heading out despite the continued Covid measures.
Businesses hoping to remain open
Some business owners are understandably nervous, as there have been several reopenings over the past year swiftly followed by the need to close again due to rising infection rates. However, this time around, business owners are hoping there will be no further lockdown and they will be able to remain open as usual.
The continuing vaccination drive will also help businesses to remain open, with a large percentage of the population now having had at least one dose. This has helped to give people more confidence to head out and celebrate the easing of lockdown.