Hairdressers across England started giving the nation an overdue trim in the early hours of Saturday while pubs and restaurants prepared to throw open their doors as the lockdown restrictions eased.
While some venues were planning to open just after midnight, the Government published last-minute regulations, enforcing the closure of hospitality venues until daylight at least.
One of the first people to visit a hair salon since the nation went into lockdown has said it was nice to feel “like normal” again.
Sandra Jacobs was among the first people through the door at Tusk Hair in Camden on Friday night when the north London business opened its doors at midnight for the first time in three-and-a-half months.
Despite the abundance of masks, aprons and faceshields serving as a reminder of the new normal of post-Covid society, Ms Jacobs said she was just relieved to be sitting in owner Carole Rickaby’s salon chair again.
“It’s such a relief, I can’t tell you,” she said.
“My hair was everywhere. I’d been wearing hats to hide it.
“Although Carole is booked for two-and-a-half weeks, I called her and she said I could come in at midnight, which I was grateful for.
“It was nice to feel a bit like normal again.”
But the grand reopening has been met by stark warnings of the potential risks of a Covid-19 resurgence.
Boris Johnson has urged the public not to “blow it now” by disregarding social-distancing rules when restrictions are eased in pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Meanwhile, Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, also warned of the danger of virus “superspreading” within pubs
And chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned the pandemic “is a long way from gone” as he urged the public to continue follow public health guidance.
“None of us believe, and I’m sure nobody watching this believes, this is a risk-free next step. It is absolutely not, that is why we have to be really serious about it," Prof Whitty added.
“There’s no doubt these are environments whose principal job it is to bring people together, that’s a great thing to do socially but it’s also a great thing from the virus’s point of view.
“And therefore we do have to have a really clear and really disciplined approach to try and maintain social distancing whilst also enjoying pubs.”
Prof Whitty added that “there is no perfect, exact way” of easing lockdown as he discussed the balancing act being undertaken, adding: “We are going to have health problems, and economic problems, for sure.”
He applied the pressure on the public and business owners to follow the restrictions, adding that if they “do not take them seriously, the possibility of a second wave goes up sharply”.
The Government scientists suggested pubs, bars and restaurants would be the types of places that close first in the event of subsequent outbreaks.
Mr Johnson said he did not want to return to a national closure of all pubs, preferring to take more targeted measures now, but said he would “retain all measures in reserve”.
He said local lockdowns like the one imposed on Leicester would remain a “feature of our lives for some time to come”.
Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and some other venues or organised events are exempt from the 30-person group limit as long as sufficient measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Britain’s biggest pub – measuring nearly 11,000 square feet – is among those ready to welcome punters back on Saturday.
The Royal Victoria Pavillion, housed in a Grade II listed Victorian building in Ramsgate, Kent, will finally be able to allow customers inside to enjoy their favourite tipple.
Chris Whitbourn, manager at Royal Victoria Pavilion, said: “We have spent a number of weeks consulting with staff who work in our pubs, as well as area managers in order to draw up our plans.The safety of staff and customers is paramount.”
From Saturday morning, thirsty residents of the coastal town will be able to return to the massive pub’s spacious interior.
The Royal Victoria is believed to be the biggest pub in the UK, and opened as a Wetherspoons in August 2017.
JD Wetherspoon says dedicated staff will monitor the pub at all times in order to maintain social distancing standards and there will be a member of staff on the door at peak times.
“Contact points” such as door handles and card payment machines will be sanitised during opening hours, and customers will be asked to order and pay via an app where possible.
Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the glass and when ordered by the app they will be delivered to the table on a tray and placed on the table using the base of the glass.