Major disorder erupted at four towns across England forcing pubs to close early on what was dubbed Super Saturday.
Bars in Mansfield, Sutton-in Ashfield, Arnold, and Newark, in Nottinghamshire, also closed early amid four arrests while scenes were much more civilised in Somerset and the West Country.
The Mirror reports one pub in Narborough, Leicestershire, also stopped serving after a man suffered neck injuries in an assault.
Police forces across the country raised concerns about potential scenes of disorder as people were able to visit pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality businesses for the first time in some three months.
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Other incidents reported include a brawl in Brentwood High Street in Essex last night.
Special Inspector Steve Weaver tweeted: “That didn’t last long. Disturbance in Brentwood High Street assisted other units. Four people arrested. Two of my team have arrested and are currently on the way to custody.”
Speaking about the Nottinghamshire disorder, Inspector Craig Berry said: “Officers were quickly on the scene to deal with a number of alcohol-related anti-social behavior reports including a smashed window and minor assault.
“As a result, four arrests were made by officers and we supported Licensees who chose to close their own premises.
“No pubs have been closed by the police. We’d like to thank the majority of the public who have acted responsibly throughout Saturday, especially whilst watching the much anticipated Derby v Forest match.
“There will be a large number of uniformed officers on duty across our communities overnight to ensure people are safe, as well as engaging, educating and encouraging people to stick to the government guidelines.”
Officers said a 35-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of affray after another man was injured before being taken to hospital, following an incident at a pub in Narborough Leicestershire Live reports.
His injuries are not believed to be serious.
A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: “Police were called to a premises in Hardwicke Road, Narborough, just after 5.30pm today (Saturday, July 4) after a report of an assault.
“A man sustained injuries to his neck and was taken to hospital for treatment. Injuries are not believed to be serious.
“A 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of affray and remains in police custody.
“The landlord of the premises decided to close the business for the evening to prevent further incidents of disorder.”
The scenes in Somerset
For the people of Somerset, however, it was a pretty quiet day with the anticpated queues, similar to what was witnessed when non-essential retailers and McDonald’s opened, not materialising.
The managing director of the Bath Pub Company even tweeted his frustration after two reservations didn’t show up on the pubs’ reopening.
He later said he may have to start taking deposits for bookings.
“It’s not something I want to introduce, but we’ve really no other option,” he said.
“Don’t direct your frustration to the restaurant/pub who insists on this, the blame lies with the rude, entitled minority who have brought us to this.”
Nanette and Stuart Gould travelled from Cheddar, Somerset, to enjoy a day-out and a pint at the Still and West pub in Old Portsmouth, Hampshire, with friends Jo and Malcolm Marsden.
Mrs Gould said: “It just feels like back to normal and we’ve never been away, I don t feel nervous at all.”
Mr Marsden said: “It feels normal but with an underlying current. Everyone is being good and keeping their distance, if it was packed we wouldn’t have come in.”
Mrs Marsden said: “It feels very personal with the table service but I’m not looking forward to the one-way system to the toilets.”
Scenes in Soho
The situation was much different as drinkers packed into pubs and bars in Central London – with pictures showing the streets of Soho rammed with some revellers appearing to ignore social distancing rules.
Crowds gathered outside bars in Soho, sparking alarm amid concerns the R rate in the city has risen above 1.
Meanwhile, the Welsh Government has announced that bars, restaurants and cafes can prepare to reopen outside only from July 13.
The five-mile rule, designed to ensure people stay within their local area, will remain in place in Wales until Monday.
One man who passed through the busy streets of London on Saturday 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.”
One shocked woman wrote on Twitter: “Just seen scenes of 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.”
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.