A CHESTER pub goer described his first post lockdown pint of drought Guinness as pure 'heaven'.

Speaking from The Shropshire Arms, Bert Lockley told the PA news agency: "I've missed this more than my missus when she left.

"You can drink at home but you can't get this feeling anywhere else."

Keen punters were enjoying their first drinks from about 11am in Chester.

Despite pleas from ministers for people to make the most of their new freedoms and inject some money into the economy, some are still erring on the side of caution and many venues remain closed.

The national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) believed as many as half of pubs stayed shut on Saturday.

Nik Antona told PA: "I think it's going to be difficult for pubs.

"They are opening up under uncertain circumstances. They don't know if they're going to get their customers back."

He added: "What you are finding is, some of the pubs haven't even bothered opening today - they want to see what's going to happen."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier claimed the public needs to "eat out to help out".

He said: "The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy and crucial to people's livelihoods - Britain's pubs and bars alone employ almost half a million people - which is why it's such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely."

He made the comments as he visited The Bell & Crown in Chiswick, west London - a pub run by brewers Fullers, who only plan on opening 27 of their 215 own-managed venues on Saturday.

The new guidelines also allow staycations and overnight stays for the first time in months.