As lockdown restrictions were lifted in England yesterday, we headed out into some of our key cities to capture on the film the release of pent-up consumer spends.

Thousands of consumers descended back into the city centres, ready to enjoy some much-needed retail therapy, as well as savouring the chance to enjoy the array of hospitality venues open, including restaurants and bars.

You don’t have to take our word for it, click on the videos to watch how shoppers reacted to retail spaces being open again across Birmingham, Manchester, central London, Westfield London and Stratford City. Scotland is due to lift its own set of lockdown restrictions at 18:00 GMT on December 11th.

This is only the beginning for the UK’s return to normality as restrictions are eased, with future reviews likely to see more regions and cities enter the lower Tiers.

Currently, all shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressers) are open across England if they are Covid-secure, no matter what Tier the city or region resides – great news for consumers and advertisers.

For those in Tier 2 (which includes all London boroughs, plus the City of London, Liverpool and Southampton) pubs and restaurants are also open, with alcohol being served with meals, and sports venues given the green light to resume with up to 2,000 spectators.

In another boost to both public confidence and the economy, the Government announced that the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid vaccine will be rolled out across the UK next week for those most at risk. The UK has bought up to 40 million doses of the vaccine, which has been shown to have a 95% efficacy in its final trials.

While there has been some concern around low-take up rates reported in the media, new research from our exclusive and nationally representative consumer panel, @ The Local, found high levels of sentiment around the vaccine – with many hoping that the return to normality is just around the corner.

An overwhelming number say they feel positive (66%) about a vaccine, rising to 78% among the over 55s and 70% among ABC1s and those most exposed to out of home (OOH). Read more here.