Restrictions are lifted. How have people across the Midlands been reacting?

Covid restrictions in England are at their lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began 16 months ago amid surging cases.

From today, limits on gatherings have gone and the work from home guidance has ended. Face masks are also no longer mandatory in shops and on public transport.

However, West Midlands Railway says passengers must continue to wear face coverings on their carriages unless they're exempt. 

Some commuters at Birmingham New Street station said they're still be wearing face coverings on all public transport.

Nightclubs have thrown open their doors to revellers for the first time since March 2020, with PRYZM Nottingham welcoming in guests at Midnight. 

Shoppers in Nottingham shared mixed views about their thoughts and feelings to restrictions ending.

One woman said: “I suffer from chronic disease long lasting, so I am in danger and at a high risk of Covid. So, I’m really not happy about the freedom today.”

Meanwhile, some pubs are still taking precautions. Antonio Pingue, Director, Royal Oak & Blacksmiths Arms said: “We've been really conscious that there's an element of social cautiousness to entering a pub. So what we have done here is that we're keeping the sanitising stations. We're still keeping the element of table service."

He continued: “And also limit the capacity, limit the amounts of people that we have in the pub. Although it's not a huge place, what we want to do is make people feel safe and comfortable in the pub while they're coming back and hopefully get that special feeling that you get when you walk into a pub.”

However, health officials are warning that Covid "is far from over". West Midlands Ambulance Service has revealed it's been the busiest callout period in their history.

GP practices are gearing up to train up frontline staff to cope with a huge increase in demand, all while Covid cases rise in some parts of the region. In Wolverhampton, they're at their highest point in six months.

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