Midnight beer gardens and beauty treatments as people brave snow for England’s relaxed COVID lockdown

Ross McGuinness
·6 min read

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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Friends make a toast as they enjoy a drink at the Switch bar in Newcastle shortly after midnight following the easing of lockdown measures on April 12, 2021 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. England has taken a significant step in easing its lockdown restrictions, with non-essential retail, beauty services, gyms and outdoor entertainment venues among the businesses given the green light to re-open with coronavirus precautions in place. Pubs and restaurants are also allowed open their outdoor areas, with no requirements for patrons to order food when buying alcoholic drinks. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Friends make a toast as they enjoy a drink at the Switch bar in Newcastle shortly after midnight on Monday. (Getty Images)

People in England enjoyed beer garden drinks and beauty treatments just after midnight as the country’s coronavirus restrictions were eased on Monday.

Customers made the most of the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown by having beauty treatments in their homes and sitting outdoors at pubs from 12.01am, in some cases braving snowy conditions.

Along with beer gardens and outdoor dining areas, non-essential shops, hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos in England will also be opening for the first time this year.

Punters at the Showtime Bar in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, sat outside as the snow fell, while the Oak Inn in Coventry, West Midlands, also opened its outside seating at midnight.

Hundreds of people queued outside Primark in Birmingham as non-essential shops reopened across the country.

Mobile beauty salon business Secret Spa, which offers at-home salon treatments in London, Manchester and Brighton, started visiting customers from midnight.

The Met Office said temperatures were between 0C and -2C across the UK on Monday morning, as some places experienced a light dusting of snow.

SHOPS

Early morning shoppers gather outside the JD Sports store in Oxford Street, London, waiting for the store to reopen as England takes another step back towards normality with the further easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Early morning shoppers gather outside the JD Sports store in Oxford Street, London, on Monday. (PA)
Early morning shoppers at Primark, in Birmingham, as England takes another step back towards normality with the further easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Early morning shoppers at Primark in Birmingham on Monday. (PA)
Early morning shoppers at Primark, in Birmingham, as England takes another step back towards normality with the further easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Shoppers leave Primark in Birmingham with their bags. (PA)
Early morning shoppers stand in line outside Primark, Birmingham, waiting for the store to reopen as England takes another step back towards normality with the further easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Early morning shoppers stand in line outside Primark, Birmingham. (PA)
Shoppers queue outside a Nike store in central London as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the country on April 12, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Shoppers queue outside a Nike store in central London on Monday. (AFP via Getty Images)

Hundreds of people queued outside Primark in Birmingham on Monday morning, and there were also long lines at its store in Nottingham.

In central London, hundreds of people also queued to get into the NikeTown shop at Oxford Circus.

There was also a long queue outside JD Sports in Oxford Street in London.

Watch: Hundreds queue for Primark as lockdown eases

BEAUTY

Beauty treatments were popular across England as soon as midnight struck.

Secret Spa, which offers at-home salon treatments across London, Manchester and Brighton, started its services from 12.01am.

Co-owner Emily Ewart-Perks, alongside hair stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson, visited a home in Balham, south London, to offer their long-awaited services to clients Amy Pallister and Isabella Robinson.

Secret Spa spray tan artist Magdelaine Gibson arrives in Balham, south London, where she has been booked for a midnight appointment to spray tan a group of clients. The five housemates desperate for a trim and tan booked through Secret Spa for stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson to visit their home at one minute past midnight for haircuts and bronzed skin as coronavirus restrictions eased across England. Secret Spa, which offers at-home beauty and wellness services in London, Manchester and Brighton, have extended their opening hours to accommodate 350 beauty treatments on the first day of restrictions lifting, with the first appointments beginning at one minute past midnight. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Secret Spa spray tan artist Magdelaine Gibson arrives at a home in Balham, south London, just after midnight on Monday. (PA)
Secret Spa hair stylist Nas Ganev cuts the hair of Amy Pallister, 27, just after midnight at her home in Balham, south London. Five housemates desperate for a trim and tan booked Secret Spa stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson to visit their home at one minute past midnight for haircuts and bronzed skin as coronavirus restrictions eased across England. Secret Spa, which offers at-home beauty and wellness services in London, Manchester and Brighton, have extended their opening hours to accommodate 350 beauty treatments on the first day of restrictions lifting, with the first appointments beginning at one minute past midnight. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Secret Spa hair stylist Nas Ganev cuts the hair of Amy Pallister, 27, just after midnight at her home in Balham, south London, on Monday. (PA)
Secret Spa tan artist Magdelaine Gibson sprays client Isabella Robinson, 27, just after midnight at her home in Balham, south London. Five housemates desperate for a trim and tan booked Secret Spa stylist Nas Ganev and tan artist Magdelaine Gibson to visit their home at one minute past midnight for haircuts and bronzed skin as coronavirus restrictions eased across England. Secret Spa, which offers at-home beauty and wellness services in London, Manchester and Brighton, have extended their opening hours to accommodate 350 beauty treatments on the first day of restrictions lifting, with the first appointments beginning at one minute past midnight. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Secret Spa tan artist Magdelaine Gibson sprays client Isabella Robinson, 27, just after midnight at her home in Balham, south London. (PA)

“It’s so amazing. It’s just been such a long time coming,” Ms Ewart-Perks said.

“I know that our therapists are just so happy to be working with clients again.

“Everyone has really missed the social contact of the day-to-day job and making clients happy. We haven’t been able to do that for the best part of five-to-six months.”

A surge in demand prompted Ewart-Perks to offer midnight services.

“We realised we had quite a few regular clients who we weren’t able to book in on the first day back, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we open the first moment we can?’”

HAIRDRESSERS

Stylist Danny Law with customer Amy Smith, who is visiting a hairdresser for the first time in more than a year, at the Strand & Lock salon in Birmingham's creative Digbeth quarter , on the first day of reopening following the further easing of lockdown restrictions. Picture date: Monday April 12, 2021.
Stylist Danny Law with customer Amy Smith, who is visiting a hairdresser for the first time in more than a year, at the Strand & Lock salon in Birmingham's creative Digbeth quarter on Monday. (PA)

In Birmingham, beauty salon Strand & Lock in the Custard Factory in Digbeth welcomed its first customer in months.

Amy Smith – who had not been to a stylist since before the original lockdown last year – said she was “thrilled” to be back at a salon.

She added: “I’m going to a go to a beer garden experience later, so it’s going to be good.”

Strand & Lock co-owner Danny Law said it was “absolutely full to the rafters” with customers all this week, and that it felt like it was the “third launch” for the business – which was only set up in November 2019 – because of repeatedly having to lock down.

PUBS

Pubs around the country opened their beer gardens from midnight to allow customers to have a drink outside at their establishments for the first time in months.

The Oak Inn in Coventry had an inflatable covering to keep customers away from the elements as dozens of punters sat outside in the early hours, while hundreds queued to enter.

The dedicated patrons of The Oak Inn in Coventry enjoy their first post-lockdown pints and other alcoholic beverages moments after midnight as restrictions across the UK are partially eased. The establishment is licensed till 6am, and also plans to sell food throughout the night, such as pizzas, burgers and kebabs. April 12 2021.
Patrons of The Oak Inn in Coventry enjoy their first post-lockdown pints just after midnight on Monday. (SWNS)
People queueing outside The Oak Inn in Coventry, hoping to enjoy their first post-lockdown pints mere moments after midnight as restrictions across the UK are partially eased. The establishment is licensed till 6am, and also plans to sell food throughout the night, such as pizzas, burgers and kebabs. April 11 2021.
People queueing outside The Oak Inn in Coventry on Monday morning. (SWNS)
The dedicated patrons of The Oak Inn in Coventry enjoy their first post-lockdown pints and other alcoholic beverages moments after midnight as restrictions across the UK are partially eased. The establishment is licensed till 6am, and also plans to sell food throughout the night, such as pizzas, burgers and kebabs. April 12 2021.
Punters at The Oak Inn in Coventry just after midnight on Monday. (SWNS)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Bar staff at the Switch bar in Newcastle serve drinks ordered through an app by customers shortly after midnight following the easing of lockdown measures on April 12, 2021 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. England has taken a significant step in easing its lockdown restrictions, with non-essential retail, beauty services, gyms and outdoor entertainment venues among the businesses given the green light to re-open with coronavirus precautions in place. Pubs and restaurants are also allowed open their outdoor areas, with no requirements for patrons to order food when buying alcoholic drinks. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Bar staff serve drinks at the Switch bar in Newcastle. (Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: A member of the bar staff pours drinks in the Switch bar as it opens following the easing of lockdown measures on April 12, 2021 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. England has taken a significant step in easing its lockdown restrictions, with non-essential retail, beauty services, gyms and outdoor entertainment venues among the businesses given the green light to re-open with coronavirus precautions in place. Pubs and restaurants are also allowed open their outdoor areas, with no requirements for patrons to order food when buying alcoholic drinks. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A member of the bar staff pours drinks in the Switch bar in Newcastle following the easing of lockdown measures on Monday. (Getty Images)

Customers queuing at the Showtime Bar in Huddersfield had to deal with a light dusting of snow as they waited for a pint.

It is estimated that just two out of five pubs have the space to reopen for outdoor service.

GYMS AND POOLS

Indoor swimming pools across England are also reopening from Monday.

Marika Smith, general manager of Hough End Leisure Centre, Withington, Manchester, says she “has not slept the last two nights” in anticipation of reopening.

She said: “All of the swimming is fully booked, you can’t get on any, and the same for the busy parts of this evening, 6-7 o’clock, is fully booked.”

St Michael's Health Club in Falmouth, Cornwall, opened shortly after 6am on Monday to cater for clients eager to return to indoor fitness.

Members of Aquabatix, a synchronised swimming team practice at Clissold leisure centre in north London as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the country following England's third national lockdown on April 12, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of Aquabatix, a synchronised-swimming team, practise at Clissold Leisure Centre in north London as coronavirus restrictions are eased on Monday. (AFP via Getty Images)
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Club member Francesca Williams, aged 20, returns to the gym at the St Michael's Health Club shortly after 6am on April 12, 2021 in Falmouth, England. England has taken a significant step in easing its lockdown restrictions, with non-essential retail, beauty services, gyms and outdoor entertainment venues among the businesses given the green light to re-open with coronavirus precautions in place. Pubs and restaurants are also allowed open their outdoor areas, with no requirements for patrons to order food when buying alcoholic drinks. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
Club member Francesca Williams returns to the gym at the St Michael's Health Club shortly after 6am on Monday in Falmouth, Cornwall. (Getty Images)
FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Club member Josh Chambers returns to the gym at the St Michael's Health Club shortly after 6am on April 12, 2021 in Falmouth, England. England has taken a significant step in easing its lockdown restrictions, with non-essential retail, beauty services, gyms and outdoor entertainment venues among the businesses given the green light to re-open with coronavirus precautions in place. Pubs and restaurants are also allowed open their outdoor areas, with no requirements for patrons to order food when buying alcoholic drinks. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
Club member Josh Chambers returns to the gym at the St Michael's Health Club shortly after 6am on Monday in Falmouth, Cornwall. (Getty Images)

Boris Johnson advised the nation to “behave responsibly” as caution is urged while social mixing inside is still heavily restricted.

“I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed,” the prime minister said.

“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress COVID as we push on with our vaccination programme.”

Watch: England reopens for business – what rules change?