- Title: Londoners cautiously welcome lifting of lockdown restrictions
- Date: 17th May 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 17, 2021) (REUTERS) BOATS ON RIVER THAMES BUSES ON BRIDGE OVER THAMES VARIOUS OF PEOPLE ON THE SOUTH BANK OF THAMES (SOUNDBITE) (English) 28-YEAR-OLD BOAT SKIPPER, ADAM GARRETT, SAYING: "It's a difficult one to say, really. I mean, I guess with this new variant and most people who are going to be going to the pubs are probably the people that are not vaccinated as well, so it does seem a bit risky, but I guess everyone's very desperate to get back out and socialise again. So I guess it is the right thing to do. But they need to be very careful of the new variant coming around." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR, GILLIAN ELISA THOMAS, SAYING: "I don't feel totally comfortable with it because it's they're leering the background. But, you know, we have to get on with it don't we and try your best to sort of live a day at a time. That's all you can do, isn't it? But it is worrying, yes, it's in the back of my mind. And I wouldn't be surprised if there's another lockdown, quite honestly." VARIOUS OF CLOSED BBQ BAR (SOUNDBITE) (English) 46-YEAR-OLD VISUAL ARTIST, PAOLO APICALLA, SAYING: "I'm comfortable, I'm fine with it. I don't have any problem, it's just, you know, people are different and react in different ways. So it's very confusing, I would say. I would say that they're confusing it." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 32-YEAR-OLD ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER, JONO WOOD, SAYING: "I think businesses, particularly restaurants and theatres and cinemas, and things like that, I think we need to start allowing that to happen. I think, again, we've just got to be wary. The worst thing now is to go back and have businesses open again and then closing again. It costs too much to do that every time. So I think we've got to go forward now, but just maybe with caution." VARIOUS OF NATIONAL FILM THEATRE WITH SIGN READING (English): "WELCOME BACK" PERSON LOOKING AT RIVER TRAFFIC ON BRIDGE
- Embargoed: 31st May 2021 10:11
- Keywords: COVID-19 London River Thames South Bank coronavirus easing lifting lockdown pandemic reaction restrictions
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Europe,Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001EDCOPQF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Several Londoners welcomed the relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules across Britain on Monday (May 17), but told Reuters people should remain cautious regarding a fast-spreading variant first identified in India.
The lifting of a swathe of lockdown advice and restrictions includes the opening of indoor dining in pubs and restaurants, as well as the reopening of indoor leisure venues such as theatres, cinemas and bowling alleys.
While never officially prohibited by law, hugs between friends and family will no longer be advised against, restoring a measure of freedom after the gloom of a four-month COVID-19 lockdown.
The biggest public health crisis in a century was accompanied by a drastic extension of state power; during England's lockdowns police broke up parties and protests alike, shut down religious services and handed out fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($14,000) to youngsters for partying.
As freedom beckons once more, there is excitement.
Beside the euphoria, though, there is also anxiety, with some wondering whether now is the right time.
On Friday (May 14), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Britain would accelerate its COVID-19 vaccination programme to try to contain the Indian variant, warning that Britain's reopening could be knocked off track by its spread.
The lockdown changes in England, Scotland and Wales are all slightly different, but people across Britain will all experience fewer restrictions than previously.
(Production: Ben Makori, Natalie Thomas, Ben Dangerfield)
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