SUN-STARVED Brits are set to bask in a 16C mini-heatwave next week as pubs finally reopen.
Pub-goers will be able to soak up the sun in beer gardens across the UK on Monday after four months.
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Temperatures will hit a modest 12C at the start of next week – then rocket to 16C on Thursday.
The good news comes after winter's final blast brought plunging temperatures and yet more snow in early April after the hottest March day for 50 years.
The change in the weather will be very welcome as non-essential shops, hairdressers and theme parks, as well as restaurants with outdoor space, reopen in England on Monday.
But a legal loophole means even pubs without gardens can fling open their doors to customers next week.
That's because boozers can serve alcohol in any outdoor area, such as a car park.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes can utilise any outdoor space available to them as a makeshift drinking and dining area – an initiative first mooted last June.
And there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks – but punters must order, eat and drink while seated.
Venues without outdoor areas can serve takeaway pints until they can fully reopen in May.
Meanwhile, non-essential shops in Wales and outdoor retailers in Northern Ireland will also open to customers once again on Monday.
In Scotland, businesses including garden centres, hairdressers and homeware stores have already reopened.
Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said the coming Monday will be "a cold day with bright weather for most", with average UK temperatures of between 5C and 10C.
But southern areas and London could see temperatures reach 12C.
And it'll only get better from there as the week progresses, with the mercury soon reaching the mid-teens.
She said: "By the time we get to Monday, April 12, it's certainly looking fine, dry and cold in the south.
"The further north you go, the colder it is and there's a risk of showery rain for the west side of Scotland and for Cumbria.
"There's a chance that some of that rain could fall as snow in the high ground in Scotland.
"There's also a chance of frost on Monday and Tuesday morning, following cold nights, with most places likely to see temperatures just touching above freezing."
Her colleague, meteorologist Dean Hall, advised Sun readers to take a coat on Monday – but said it'll be nice in the sun, with highs of up to 11C in the south.
Meanwhile, higher pressure could bring "fine, dry days" as the week goes on, he said.
Those who do decide to head out for a pint with pals won't have to rely on cash when they go.
Punters will be able to use their cards indoors, it has been confirmed, after confusion when official guidance stated guests in hospitality “must” pay at their outdoor table.
Industry bosses complained that poor rural broadband and mobile signal means card machines cannot be used in pub gardens – typically in remote parts such as in Devon and Cornwall.
'FINE, DRY DAYS' TO COME AS LOCKDOWN EASES
But UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls confirmed that the Government guidance is being amended to allow for indoor payment.
And Boris Johnson this week confirmed the UK's Covid cases and deaths are low enough for him to proceed with his roadmap out of lockdown.
Under the current plan, June 21 is the day life could return almost to normal – although Mr Johnson suggested twice-weekly testing, as well as holiday quarantines and Covid passports, are likely to remain in place for some time to come.
The PM, who has vowed to stick with his "cautious but irreversible" road out of the shutdown, said: "We set out our roadmap and we're sticking with it.
"And I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that road map.
"But it is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and by following the rules – remembering hand, face, space, fresh air – that we hope together to make this road map to freedom irreversible."
He added of his roadmap: "We're sticking to it like glue.
"We have no reason to deviate from it.
"We're going to step two from April 12. And things seem set for May 17."
And he joked: "On Monday the 12th, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips."
Elsewhere next week, the rules will be relaxed to allow 30 people to attend funeral services while weddings and wakes will be allowed to have 15 people.
Overnight stays away from home with your household will also be back on the cards.
Driving tests will also be able to start up again for people keen to get their licence.
The number of care home visitors will be increased to two per resident.
Libraries and community centres will also be able to open back up.
However, would-be world travellers are still keeping their fingers crossed for holidays abroad after the PM refused to commit to breaks in May.
What will open on April 12?
Mr Johnson said that non-essential retailers can reopen from this date, as long as strict conditions are met.
This is understood to include:
- Clothing shops
- Homeware shops
- Toy shops
- Vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
- Betting shops
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Electronic goods shops
- Mobile phone shops
- Auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
- Market stalls selling non-essential goods
Other businesses that are expected to reopen as part of the plans include:
- Pubs (outdoor service only)
- Restaurants (outdoor service only)
- Gyms (indoor exercising – but no classes)
- Beauty salons
- Theme parks
- Drive-in cinemas
- Drive-in performances
- Community centres
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