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On this day in 2020

So what was happening on 4th July 2020 in the UK?

We know because of the Coronavirus Diaries written live on a daily basis. Let's see, how much you've forgotten already:


Today is the day a lot of people have been waiting for. It is the biggest easing of Lockdown measures so far and pubs, restaurants, cafés and hairdressers are finally opened, albeit in an unfamiliar manner.

Around a third of pubs, 31% to be precise, did not open today as they were not confident they could meet the requirements or indeed felt that they would prefer to observe how others progressed before dipping their toe in the water.

Social distancing has meant that pubs and restaurants in particular have tried to be innovative in the way they have approached the challenge. The Barn in Cambridgeshire has erected lunar style spherical pods over tables to seclude diners. They look pretty cool actually. Other pubs are using 2 hour time slots. In Soho there has been a 10 foot tall gantry erected with a police officer standing in it to observe the crowds. Many have used a simple ‘X marks the spot’ where you don’t sit. Separating tables and seating areas. The Faltering Fullback Pub in North London had a queue stretching back hundreds of yards down the street with thirsty punters waiting to get in and it was a similar scene at The Black Garter in Newcastle.

The Generous George tweeted a list of provisions that were in place at the pub:

No tables or chairs, inside or out can be moved.

Hand sanitisers must be used on entry and at the toilets.

Once full there will be a waiting list.

You will be shown to a table and not be able to join others.

Maximum table size is 6 people.

If you’re smoking you MUST be seated.

Children must remain at the table, seated and not running round (sic).

All play areas will remain CLOSED.

Pool table can be used by over 16’s only and two people only. Items used to be returned and sanitised for their next use.

Use the markers and adhere to social distancing.

Do not lean on the bar.

One person only to come to the bar to order.

A reduced menu has been set.

Please assist floor staff by putting empty glasses at the end of the table to prevent them leaning over.

Use the dedicated ordering points.

Children should not approach the bar.

Entertainment – there is none until further notice.

Low music will be played daily.

Sport will be shown but at a low sound, please do not ask us to turn it up we cannot.

Only one person can play at the fruit machines at a time and must be seated.

One way systems, exits and entrances must be adhered to.

The early part of the day and into early evening things seemed to be going well.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had tweeted:

‘As pubs and restaurants open across England today, it’s absolutely vital that everyone follows the rules on social distancing.

We’ve worked so hard and together saved so many lives.

Stick to the rules this weekend, keep apart from others and wash your hands several times a day.’

Almost inevitably, however, as the night wore on, it seems that Mr Johnson’s request had fallen on stoney ground. Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted that they were starting to see an increase in reports of disorder and drink related anti-social behaviour. Soho was completely crowded and there was apparently no social distancing going on as hundreds, if not thousands, milled around outside bars many of them drunk. In my hometown of Nottingham, three pubs decided to close because of ‘irresponsible behaviour’ by customers, 4 arrests were made, and one or two windows smashed.

By 10pm Devon and Cornwall Police had logged 1,000 incidents with two hours still to go. Dorset Police had recorded 525 incidents in 24 hours relating to drink and behaviour.

John Apter, Chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales tweeted:

‘Finished my late shift with the Hants Police, Southampton City Late Shift. A busy shift, we dealt with anti-social behaviour, naked men, possession of class A drugs, happy drunks, angry drunks and was called a fascist pig by somebody we tried to help! What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t /won’t socialy (sic) distance. It was a busy night, but the shift managed to cope. I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted. Now heading home, to those still on shift please stay safe.’

Pubs in Scotland remained closed, yet many travelled over the border to Berwick-On-Tweed, one publican there suggesting his clientele had been 70% Scottish, travelling from as far away as Edinburgh and Glasgow.

There is the potential for good to come out of this. People being served at tables rather than the bar, is surely welcome, and the very fact that there are more outside places to sit is also a boon, despite out unpredictable weather.

Hairdressers managed to open with less dramatic consequences, the downside being no coffees and magazines available for customers. Visors and masks made it hard to communicate and some who wore gloves also found it difficult. The main thing is things are moving forward. The underlying current is the niggling fear that it will come to a grinding halt with a second wave.

Leicester, of course, have experienced none of this as they remain in lockdown due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

The Catalonia region of Spain has also been put back into Lockdown, affecting 200,000 residents due to an increase in cases.


Ash and April visited with baby Elsie and for the first time we were indoors! It was great to be able to play with her and give her a cuddle. Ash was considering an appeal against his redundancy in the wake of the Lockdown.

I spoke with my older brother Michael. He is going in The City Hospital for a heart bypass operation on Monday. He is being stoic but it must be terribly worrying for him. There is a 95% chance of recovery, but he is almost 77 years old and of course there is the spectre of COVID-19. He will be in intensive care for a while afterwards.

Had fun with Harry and Lily, they came in the house for the first time too.

Jackie and I feel pretty off and have done for the last couple of days; headache and a bit of a sore throat, nausea. It’s probably a summer cold, but the paranoia hits in as we have felt a bit poorly since taking her to The City Hospital for her Mammogram. There is always the fear that you have picked something up. It doesn’t seem to fit the COVID-19 symptoms and our temperatures are okay at the moment.

Quote of the day:

‘Things you may take for granted, other people are praying for.’ – Marlan Rico Lee.

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