As most of England plunges into tougher coronavirus restrictions, one part of the country can still enjoy the pub almost as normal.
The Isles of Scilly is the final area not in Tier 3 or 4, with every other part in England in one of those two categories. Three-quarters of people live in Tier 4.
Photos show pub-goers enjoying their table service pints at the Mermaid pub – a far cry from takeaway pints customers are picking up as they bid to support their local on the mainland.
Pubs in Tiers 3 and 4 must close except for providing food and drink for collection or delivery.
As the last remaining Tier 1 area, people in the Isles of Scilly can keep meeting those they don’t live with indoors or outdoors, provided they stick to the rule of six and pubs can have customers indoors.
However, residents have joined with a councillor from the Isles of Scilly who warned people not to travel there for a boozy session if they crave a pub trip.
Jonathan Smith, who represents St Martin’s, said its Tier 1 status is “no great surprise” because the area has had no recorded COVID-19 cases since September.
“It’s an interesting paradox that Scilly remains the only place left in Tier 1,” he said.
“We are probably the place in the country for fewest options for travel, shopping and eating out in the winter months.”
He stressed people should not travel to the isles for a “new year or winter holiday”.
Librarian Linda Thomas, 69, from St Mary’s, feared people who moved around from places with higher cases had made it to the islands.
“Having seen our family and friends in Cornwall go from a Tier 1 to a Tier 3 in under a week because of mindless selfish people from higher tiers travelling down is very disturbing,” she said.
“We know that some of these people were heading to the islands and I have no doubt that some made it.”
Barbara Simpson, 78, said: “Those who freely admit they have come to Scilly to get away from the virus obviously have no idea (or don’t care) of the risk they pose to us.
“The total lack of awareness and arrogance of these people is staggering.”
The Council of the Isles of Scilly said: “As we have previously advised, just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should, so please consider the prime minister’s advice to ‘see in the new year safely at home.’”
Thomas and Simpson both said they would not be going to the pub for New Year’s Eve.
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