Brent Council thanked the “overwhelming majority” of businesses who ensured the wider easing of lockdown measures ran safely and smoothly over the weekend.

Pubs, restaurants, and hairdressers were among those who reopened their doors on Saturday (July 4) after months of temporary closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And despite some concerns this could lead to a flood of people – thereby jeopardising social distancing measures – councillors in Brent declared the operation a success.

Cllr Shama Tatler, responsible for business at Brent Council, explained that dozens of council officers patrolled the borough “until the early hours” over the weekend to ensure premises were operating safely and complying with Covid-19 rules.

She said: “Our officers saw long queues for the barbers and hairdressers, pubs and bars became busier throughout the day and businesses told us they were grateful for our visit to check on things as they want to ensure they are doing everything they can to keep people safe.

“We all have a part to play as we support our local high streets, whether that’s in walking or cycling to the shops, following queuing and one-way systems, or in providing details for tracing records and we must avoid becoming complacent as long as Covid-19 is still with us, which is why we should shop local, but above all shop safe.”

Yesterday (July 5), Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the behaviour of “the vast majority” of people who visited pubs and restaurants as they reopened.

Speaking to Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday, he said: “From what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly.

“So overall I’m pleased with what happened. It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely, social distancing.”

It came after the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, said social distancing measures could never work when people are drunk.