At the Kentish Belle pub in Bexleyheath, south-east London, there was a “sense of celebration” in the early hours of Monday – as it opened to midnight pubgoers.
Nicholas Hair, the pub’s landlord and owner, said there was “big excitement” ahead of the reopening, with lots of people still ringing to see if they could book minutes ahead of time.
“I’m hoping that this is a sort of rebirth, and that we are reopen for the foreseeable,” he said.
One man at reopening said he was excited to be out “having a drink, seeing mates” and that it was good to be able to “have a laugh, enjoy this fine establishment and have a drink”.
He said he had “downed” his first pint of beer, and added: “It’s been too long, I haven’t seen these lot socially for a while.
“It’s good to be out, regardless of the time and the weather and how cold it is.”
On another table, a woman said she was “very much enjoying” her first pint, but said she was more happy to be “social again”.
“We’ve missed celebrations, Christmas, Easter. So yeah it’s nice to be back again,” she said.
She added: “None of us want to go back through what we’ve been through in the last few months, so we’ve got to keep washing our hands.”

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