Soho in London has been slammed as a ‘Petri dish’ after punters packed the pubs and bars as they reopened.
Watering holes in England can now open their doors to the public for the first time since the UK was put on lockdown on March 23.
The trendy night spot was rammed with revellers drinking to celebrate ‘Super Saturday’.
Scenes of crowds ignoring social distancing rules sparked anger among social media users and locals alike, the Mirror reports.
There are also fears amid reports that the R number in London might have risen above 1 again.
Despite warnings from health experts to maintain a two metre distance, photos of busy beer gardens and bar fronts showed many flouting the all-important guidelines.
One man who passed through the busy streets this afternoon told Mirror Online: “Walking down old Compton Street felt like wading through a Petri dish.
“And that was at about 4:30pm. Not much chance to socially distance even just walking down the street.”
Scenes of drinkers packed in closely sparked a furious backlash on social media.
One shocked woman wrote on Twitter: “Just seen scenes if Soho pubs… my heart goes out to those health care workers and their families who died of Covid to save the rest of us… disgusting lack of respect.”
And one man shared video of groups gathered in the streets, writing: “Soho lockdown is over.”
Another fumed: “Just seen the scenes in Soho. It’s as if the health care workers who risked their lives trying to deal with the pandemic were just wasting their time.”
Elsewhere in London, Borough Market was also packed, and large queues of people were snapped around London Bridge.
One Twitter user fumed as pictures of the area circulated: “Just as we all thought. Borough Market, London this afternoon. Idiots one and all.”
Earlier today the World Health Organisation said the number of daily infections is the highest it’s ever been since the start of the pandemic.
Delighted punters have voiced their joy after they were finally allowed to set foot inside their local boozers again.
One man, named Jimmy, earlier said: “It’s brilliant being back.
“I was on nights, finished my shift…went home had a shower and came in.
“Have my first Carling was like an angel p***ing on the tip of my tongue. It’s great that it’s back on draught. I’m sick of cans in the house.”
Meanwhile Pubs have shut early in two Nottinghamshire towns after reports of major disorder.
Police officers have descended on Mansfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield, arresting several people, it is claimed.
A boozer in the Leicestershire village of Narborough has also stopped serving after a man suffered neck injuries in an assault.
The clashes come as England reopened its pubs for the first time in three months today – on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.
Police feared there could be scenes of disorder across the country today as youngsters finally let loose after being stuck indoors during the lockdown.
There have also been witness reports of a brawl in Brentwood High Street, Essex, this evening.
Special Inspector Steve Weaver tweeted: “That didn’t last long. Disturbance in Brentwood High street assisted other units. 4 people arrested. 2 of my team have arrested and are currently on the way to custody.”
The Copt Oak has closed in Narborough, Leicestershire, this evening after an arrest on the premises.
Officers said a 35-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of affray after another man was injured before being taken to hospital, Leicestershire Live reports.
His injuries are not believed to be serious.
The Jug & Glass in Mansfield Woodhouse, near Mansfield, and The Swan and The Ravensdale, in Mansfield, have shut, according to the Mansfield Chad.
The Devonshire and the Nag’s Head in Sutton-in-Ashfield are also closed, the newspaper reports.
The Ravensdale posted on its Facebook page: “Due to irresponsible behaviour we are closed until further notice… thank you to everyone who supported us on our first day of opening… hope to see you soon.
“Just to make it clear to everyone.. it was MY decision to close the pub for my staff’s health and safety.
“No one has closed us down only me.”
Yesterday England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned that “this virus is a long way from gone.
He added: “It is not going to be gone for a long time.
“Nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step.
“We have to be absolutely serious about it.”
He warned that a second wave is “very much a possibility” as lockdown restrictions are eased.
More than half of voters think the hospitality sector has been reopened too soon, according to a new poll.
Some 52 per cent believe outlets like pubs and restaurants are going back into business early, the Opinium survey states.
The snapshot survey shows that 73 per cent expect a second outbreak of Covid-19 this year.
It states the Government’s disapproval rating is at 49 per cent – with just 30 per cent approving of its performance.
The survey also finds that 53 per cent of people think the easing of the lockdown is happening too fast.
In Scotland beer gardens will open on July 6.
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to use indoor areas from 15 July on “a limited basis”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she’s also been getting advice on reducing social distancing to one metre.
Of those who tested positive for Coronavirus in Scotland 2,488 have died.
Follow our live blog to keep updated on all Scottish coronavirus news.