Smiling Brits couldn't hide their happiness as they swarmed pubs at 8am to be reunited with their favourite pint.

There were cheers - and some happy tears - as pubs reopened in England for the first time since the country went into lockdown four months ago.

Rain and drizzle failed to dampen the spirits on what is being dubbed 'Super Saturday' - and the country's own 'Independence Day'.

In Wetherspoons around the country, punters were all smiles as they were reunited with their favourite tipple.

Andrew Slawinski, 54, who bought a Guinness from the Toll Gate Wetherspoons pub in Turnpike Lane, north London, described his first pub pint in three months as "gorgeous"

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Andrew Slawinaki, 51, reading his paper while having a pint of Guinness at the reopening The Toll Gate

"It's like winning the [Premier] League," he said.

The chain is reopening 900 pubs but is hiking up the cost of drinks, including beers, wines and spirits by 10p.

Spoons may also add 20p to meals, although hikes will vary according to location.

A range of measures have been implemented including contact tracing forms, Perspex screens and compulsory table service.

One of the first drinkers at the reopening of the Rochester Castle pub in Stoke Newington

Customers will be asked to pay and order through the app and if not using contactless payments.

Rob Allison, 63, was among the first to get a first sweet pint of John Smith, £1.90, from the Babington Arms in Derby.

He told DerbyshireLive: “Apart from the pubs being closed I’ve not done anything different.

"I’ve just gone without alcohol. Coronavirus hasn’t impacted me, I don’t get diseases, probably because I’m full of alcohol. I got here at 7.20am because of the bus, it gets here at that time.

Punters queue outside the Babington Arms

“I knew these were open so I came here. I think it’s gonna be mayhem, when people have had a few they’re all going to be hugging and shaking hands.

“People are gonna make mistakes. There’s going to be arguments.”

Martin Sherrell, 63, pitched up at a Wetherspoons in Bristol at 8am and wolfed down a breakfast - before ordering alcohol as allowed at 9am.

A member of staff opens the doors for business at 8am for the reopening of the Shakespeares Head pub in Holborn

He said he usually visits The Commercial Rooms but, as it was shut, was forced to relocate to The Berkeley with his two friends.

Martin added that the trio were the only people in the pub when it opened - although staff said they were expecting many more later.

He ordered a bottle of Magners cider - and said that he would be enjoying a few more as the day wore on.

Martin said: "I had an early night last night in preparation. I set the alarm for 6am - but I was up at 5:15am.

Customers ordering breakfast at the Shakespeares Head pub

"I've barely slept since I heard the Prime Minister's announcement that pubs could open.

"I was joking that I would have camped outside if it wasn't raining!

"Me and my mates usually meet a couple of times a week, but we haven't been to a Wetherspoons since March. We've been drinking there for years.

"There was just the three of us and three workers when it opened. I think they're expecting more later.

Lindy Barack opens the gates at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London

"I'm being sensible about it though. We all are. I'm a full-time carer for my mum. I've got a mask with me.

"I've had a nice bottle of Magners cider - I do like them. I'll have a couple more."

Meanwhile, Greene King pubs will not reopen today on safety grounds.

Instead, the brewery and pub company will conduct a phased reopening of 1,294 of its UK pubs from Monday, July 6.

Cheers!

Restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers are also reopening today with queues at some barbers forming just before midnight.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has however warned people could end up "behind bars" if they get carried away boozing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Government experts have urged people to stick to the rules to avoid creating a second wave of coronavirus.

Back in business!

Mr Hancock told the Daily Mail that people were entitled to enjoy themselves at pubs, but added: "You could end up behind bars if you break the law."

The comments came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people not to "blow" progress in combating the spread of the disease made during the lockdown as he deployed the Government's new slogan "enjoy summer safely".

Meanwhile the Health Secretary said he would not "shirk" from shutting pubs and restaurants again and imposing local lockdowns if needed.

Today is the day pubs reopen

He said: "I'm no killjoy, but the virus can still kill. I don't want to see bars and pubs have to close again. I love going to the pub and enjoy a pint or two."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged people to make the most of the easing to boost the economy, claiming the public needs to "eat out to help out".

He told the Times: "This is a consumption-driven economy; people used to, three months ago, go out with their friends or family to go and have a meal. Or buy a car, or upgrade their house, or move house. Go camping, come up to the Yorkshire Dales and go coast to coast."

A member of staff in PPE waits to serve drinkers at the reopening The Toll Gate

The comments come after chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the coronavirus pandemic "is a long way from gone" as he urged the public to follow social-distancing rules as the lockdown is eased.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, also warned of the danger of the "superspreading" of Covid-19 occurring in pubs.

At a Downing Street press conference on Friday Prof Whitty said: "None of us believe, and I'm sure nobody watching this believes, this is a risk-free next step. It is absolutely not, that is why we have to be really serious about it.

"There's no doubt these are environments whose principal job it is to bring people together, that's a great thing to do socially but it's also a great thing from the virus's point of view.

"And therefore we do have to have a really clear and really disciplined approach to try and maintain social distancing whilst also enjoying pubs."

Restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas were allowed to begin reopening from midnight on Saturday, but pubs had to wait until 6am, with Downing Street fearing early morning partying.