England wakes to day two of post-lockdown life

Pubgoers are nursing a hangover today after raising a glass to the end of England's lockdown last night - despite Boris Johnson's diktat that they must have a 'substantial meal' to soak up the booze.

Revellers took to the streets of Tier 2 towns and cities across the country to enjoy a drink with their household inside, or with their friends outside.

Londoners enjoyed a night of largely al fresco drinking and eating with many businesses fully booked as possible toasted a tiny taste of freedom after four-weeks in lockdown. Queues stretched around the block outside some pubs in Soho and east London. 

Many appeared to already have spent the day storming shops to grab pre-Christmas bargains in the West End on Wild Wednesday, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to hit the shops again today.

Outside the capital, Liverpool was particularly busy after being dropped down from Tier 3 - but neighbouring Manchester's pubs, bars and restaurants, usually teeming with people in December were quiet and either closed or only open for takeaway.

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Despite the Government telling pubs and bars that drinkers must have a 'substantial meal' with alcohol, photographs from last night suggest that not everyone was eating. 

Boris Johnson has imposed strict lockdown tiers on 99 per cent of England, with 55million people banned from socialising with other people indoors until next year. Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly have been placed in Tier 1 despite infections falling in almost every corner of the country. 

Mr Johnson's slight loosening of lockdown came as:

50 hospitals are primed for Britain's biggest-ever vaccination programme - Operation Panacea - where Pfizer Covid jabs will be rolled out from Monday at 7am; Education Secretary Gavin Williamson refuses to cancel GCSE and A-Level exams next year - but they will be marked more generously; Matt Hancock and even the PM may be vaccinated on live TV to convince people to be vaccinated in 2021;  Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned that face masks could be necessary 'for years' in press conference where Boris Johnson interrupted to reassure that life will get 'back to normal' soon; 

People queued around the block to get a drink at the McCooley's Irish bar in Liverpool last night as lockdown in England ended

People queued around the block to get a drink at the McCooley's Irish bar in Liverpool last night as lockdown in England ended

Buoyed by a few drinks and a little taste of normality, Liverpool's pubgoers clearly enjoyed a good night out

Buoyed by a few drinks and a little taste of normality, Liverpool's pubgoers clearly enjoyed a good night out

Concert Street in Liverpool was very busy with bar staff forced to organise the crowds into orderly queues

Concert Street in Liverpool was very busy with bar staff forced to organise the crowds into orderly queues

It may be unprecedented times, but students on Merseyside couldn't resist falling into old habits such as enjoying a drink and pushing a friend in a shopping trolley

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It may be unprecedented times, but students on Merseyside couldn't resist falling into old habits such as enjoying a drink and pushing a friend in a shopping trolley

Police were patrolling the streets of York, but very little trouble as pubs opened was reported

Police were patrolling the streets of York, but very little trouble as pubs opened was reported

Drinkers clutching cans of lager queue to enter a Soho bar as London's hospitality industry opened up again after four weeks

Drinkers clutching cans of lager queue to enter a Soho bar as London's hospitality industry opened up again after four weeks

Police take a photo of two friends reunited and enjoying some wine and food in London's West End last night

Police take a photo of two friends reunited and enjoying some wine and food in London's West End last night

Bars have opened large areas outside with heated gazebos to encourage customers back during a pandemic

Bars have opened large areas outside with heated gazebos to encourage customers back during a pandemic

Downing Street has given the thumbs-up for 'wet pubs' - which do not normally serve meals - to team up with local fast food outlets in order to carry on pulling pints. Pictured: Revellers in Liverpool city centre on Wednesday night

Downing Street has given the thumbs-up for 'wet pubs' - which do not normally serve meals - to team up with local fast food outlets in order to carry on pulling pints. Pictured: Revellers in Liverpool city centre on Wednesday night

People outside a pub in Soho, London, after the second national lockdown ends and England entered an even stricter tiered system of coronavirus restrictions

People outside pubs in Soho, London, after the second national lockdown ends and England entered an even stricter tiered system of coronavirus restrictions

People outside pubs in Soho, London, after the second national lockdown ends and England entered an even stricter tiered system of coronavirus restrictions

Fans queue ahead of the Sky Bet League One match between Shrewsbury Town and Accrington Stanley at Montgomery Waters Meadow as English football welcomed back supporters for the first time since March

Fans queue ahead of the Sky Bet League One match between Shrewsbury Town and Accrington Stanley at Montgomery Waters Meadow as English football welcomed back supporters for the first time since March

Families were also out in the West End of London on Wild Wednesday - where retailers launched their pre-Christmas sales when their stores reopened

Families were also out in the West End of London on Wild Wednesday - where retailers launched their pre-Christmas sales when their stores reopened

Bars and restaurants reported strong trade after those under Tier 2 restrictions were allowed to re-open for the first time in a month.

What can you do in a pub in each tier? 
Tier 1 - Pubs are open for alcohol or food with people from different households allowed to sit together. Tier 2 - Pubs can only serve alcohol with a 'substantial meal'. People from different households can only sit together outside, and must follow the 'rule of six'. Those sitting inside the pub at the same table must be from the same household. Tier 3 - Pubs are closed for everything but takeaway.

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However, this came with the caveat that drinks could only be served with a substantial meal amid much debate over whether this could include a scotch egg.

Landlords were using ingenious ways to get around the rules, including one in Worcester who opened for drinks as long as people ordered food from the chippy next door.

People queued

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