It was England’s own independence day, although the Government didn’t want it to rival what was happening 7,000 kilometres away in the US.
As the shackles came off a bleeding economy, it was also dubbed Super Saturday, and a nation known for enjoying a pint, or two, was allowed back into the pub.
Now, there’s hand sanitiser attached to the door, arrows on the floor to indicate the best direction of travel and yellow tape to mark the appropriate distance to stand from your fellow patron, but it all seems a tad unregulated.
The owner of one pub in south-west London has developed an app so customers can order from their tables with next to no interaction with staff and has also installed Perspex shields between tables.
The restaurant next door has ignored social-distancing requirements altogether and patrons have packed in just as they have before.
That’s typical of the British Government’s approach. There are no rules, just guidelines.
The Health Minister, Matt Hancock, has warned anyone breaking social-distancing laws will be arrested and prosecuted.
But in reality, it’s too difficult to police, and most people know that.
A not-so-united kingdom
It’s also worthy to note, the United Kingdom is not united in its approach to the virus and hasn’t been since the first wave of COVID-19 crossed the English Channel, resulting in the worst death toll in Europe.
Scotland, Ireland and Wales have done it their way.
Most recently, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, condemned Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to exempt more than 70 nations from quarantine rules.
The two leaders are poles apart. Simply put, Scotland is trying to eliminate the virus, while England’s aim is to suppress it.
Scotland hopes to have it gone by the end of summer.
Without a vaccine, England will have to live with it and ensure its National Health Service is not overwhelmed. Nonetheless, the pubs are open.
‘A completely different experience’
Rebecca Pryle, a manager at The Bread and Roses in south-west London, checked and rechecked her booking floor plan as she prepared to open at lunchtime on Saturday.
“It’s going to be completely different, a completely different experience,” she told the ABC as she placed reservation signs on tables.
Her first customer for more than three months arrived at midday.
“It’s important for pubs to be open,” Ms Pryle said after greeting them.
“We are going to do our best to try and find some norm within the new normal and try and provide the pub experience the best we can.”
England has returned to some normality. Brits have had a haircut, they’ve drunk a pint, eaten a meal in a restaurant and even gone to the cinema.
Now they’re just hoping the new norm can stay.