Pubs, cafes, restaurants and cinemas in England have opened their doors to customers for the first time in three months.
We asked six young photographers to document what an evening out looked like.
Ceri Oakes – Whitby, Yorkshire
The seaside town and port situated on the east coast of Yorkshire is perhaps best known for its strong literary associations – particularly Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel Dracula – and the dramatic abbey ruins on the headland overlooking the town.
Image copyright Ceri Oakes/BBC Image caption The Moon and Sixpence, a harbour-side bar, offers views of the historic town. But its popular window seats have been removed to meet social distancing measures.
Image copyright Ceri Oakes/BBC Image caption Manager Lex Atkinson takes the details of all customers as they come to enjoy an evening out. The bar is offering table service only, and a booking system is in place, with customers limited to a two-hour slot.
Image copyright Ceri Oakes/BBC Image caption These friends who travelled to Whitby from nearby Darlington say they are happy to see bars opening again as it is time to kick-start the economy. They say not seeing their friends is the thing they have missed most over the past three months.
Image copyright Ceri Oakes/BBC Image caption Emma Morley and Lee Clarke from Peterborough both work for the NHS, and say they have had a hectic three months. Because of their work, they have been around people throughout the lockdown. “It doesn’t really feel any different for us [being out again], we’re not having to step out of our comfort zone,” says Emma.
Image copyright Ceri Oakes/BBC Image caption Lex Atkinson admits that a night out at the bar “looks so different to how it did before”. She says the reduced capacity will allow them to ease themselves back in gently after three months off. “It means we’ve got time to enforce the new stricter cleaning procedures such as wiping down till points and menus between every customer with antibacterial spray,” she says.
Bex Wade – Soho, London
The weekend marks the end of Pride events in the UK. Covid-19 meant that celebrating LGBT+ rights looked a little different this year with many of the events held virtually.
Image copyright Bex Wade/BBC Image caption “We have installed screens between each table, there are sanitiser units around the building and everything is socially distanced,” says Jeremy Joseph, owner of G-A-Y. Capacity inside the club has been cut. People give their details before entering, and these are held for 21 days to tie in with the NHS track and trace system.
Image copyright Bex Wade/BBC Image caption “To be honest I wouldn’t normally be inside a bar but I did miss Pride generally,” says Evan, a 32 year old actor (pictured right). He says the atmosphere on Old Compton Street has been “amazing”. “This feels the closest to Pride that we could have,” he says.
Image copyright Bex Wade/BBC Image caption Tommy is 25 and also an actor. He says he feels safe with the precautions the bar had in place. “They’ve put up lots of barriers, so it’s a one-way system. There’s lots of perspex so that germs can’t be spread.” He’s not so sure about the new rules of having to sit in a booth. “You can’t get up and dance,” he says.
Image copyright Bex Wade/BBC Image caption Michael, a 22-year-old receptionist, (pictured left) was disappointed events had been affected by the lockdown. “It’s one of the days of the year that I like to go out and express myself. But it’s OK because today it does feel festive – everyone’s out and about, and it feels a bit like Pride today.”
Sophie Wedgwood – Peckham, London
One of London’s coolest neighbourhoods, Peckham is filled with a variety of bars, restaurants and unique street art.
Image copyright Sophie Wedgwood/BBC Image caption Gilda Bruno is a 22 Italian living in London. “I moved here just before lockdown began. I was ready to explore a new city, meet new people and see what the city had to offer me. Then all of a sudden this happened.
Image copyright Sophie Wedgwood/BBC Image caption “Now things are going to get better. I’m going to try to make the most of my stay in London and connect with like-minded people and also the nightlife. It hasn’t been possible for the last few months.”
Image copyright Sophie Wedgwood/BBC Image caption “It’s definitely going to be a challenging experience, because in the past few years I have experienced a lot of social anxiety. I never really enjoyed being in big crowds, so having to face that experience again after a few months when I only interacted with my two flat mates is going to be a struggle.”
Image copyright Sophie Wedgwood/BBC Image caption “Maybe people are going to be just as clumsy as me socially – especially after being inside for so long. I’m not really worried about the restrictions in place in the bars. It might make the focus more on being around people, conversation and quality time rather than just drinking.”
Joanne Coates – Northumberland
Situated in the northern part of the county close to the Scottish border and often referred to as the “Gateway to the Cheviots”, the small town of Wooler is a popular base for walkers. It has many attractive stone-built watering holes dotted around the town.
Image copyright Joanne Coates/BBC Image caption At The Angel Inn, landlady Nikki says getting ready to reopen has been “a lot of work”. “I’ve put in a one-way system and taken out lots of furniture,” she says.”The staff all have plastic visors. I’ve made two separate smoking areas, and counted anyone coming in. We really need to be safe.”
Image copyright Joanne Coates/BBC Image caption Chatton is a village roughly 6km (3.2m) east of Wooler. A group of agricultural workers have gathered at The Chatton Arms Hotel. “We are regulars here, and our group is made up of people aged 18-to-35,” says one. “People of all ages gather here – we all talk to each other. It’s good for the older farmers. Without this they wouldn’t see anyone. If we didn’t have the pub here, there would be nothing else to do.”
Image copyright Joanne Coates/BBC Image caption Farmer Jonny Spink was out at his local The Three Horseshoes in Wensley. “As a farmer not a lot has changed for me during this time. I’m enjoying being out. Working on your own can be stressful, and it’s bad for your mental health not seeing anyone.”
Faith Aylward – Stratford, London
Described as “Stratford’s place to be”, Roof East, is a roof-top bar on top of an old shopping centre.
Image copyright Faith Aylward/BBC Image caption The unusual venue boasts a crazy golf course, baseball batting cages and the Scottish game of curling. Its cinema is temporarily closed.
Image copyright Faith Aylward/BBC Image caption Birute, who works at the bar, is worried about the prospect of a local lockdown. She says young people need to be able to continue with their lives, as long as they “cooperate with the stipulations of post-lockdown life.”
Image copyright Faith Aylward/BBC Image caption Stephanie, who also works at the venue is cautious: “I reckon in a week of two there will be a second wave,” she says. “Given a little freedom, the natural tendency is for people to do their own thing, so I think people may forget the new rules.”
Image copyright Faith Aylward/BBC Image caption Unfortunately, rain cut short Saturday night’s festivities and the venue was forced to close early.
Gemma Lou Quinton – Manchester
Four friends – two couples – have met up to enjoy a few drinks in the local pub, The Queens Arms in Audenshaw, Manchester.
Image copyright Gemma Lou QUINTON/BBC Image caption “The last time I went out was in February and I’ve really missed socialising with my friends,” says Demi Lonsdale. Dean Fallon thinks the pubs are doing enough to keep people safe: “We had to sign a form for tracing purposes, there are perspex screens at the bar, I’m really impressed.”
Image copyright Gemma Lou Quinton/BBC Image caption Club promoter Jake Rees, has put on a special event billed as a “sober rave”. It features entertainment and guest speakers, which he hopes will help people start to socialise again, after so many months at home.
Image copyright Gemma Lou QUINTON/BBC Image caption “These events are about making sure people feel safe and have a good time. It’s nice to see people socialising again – you can really see people light up when they are around other people enjoying good vibes.”
All photos subject to copyright.