People in Redcar, which currently has the highest rate of Covid cases in England, said they would continue to wear masks indoors to protect others.
Families flocked to the seaside town near Middlesbrough, where cases have reached 1,268 per 100,000 people, to enjoy the beach, fish and chips and candy floss, on a beautiful summer’s day.
The high street was busy with shoppers and it appeared that most were still wearing masks when they visited stores.
Chip shop worker Nicky White, 53, said her employers at the Sea Breeze in Redcar have followed all the protocols to keep staff and customers safe, despite the heat.
She said: “We are all wearing masks, we have screens up, we get tested and we have all got our Covid passes.
“We have it down to a tee. We are doing a lot better than some of the big name stores.”
She felt rules should not be left to individuals, adding: “If we all had common sense the world would be a perfect place.”
Mental health charity worker Callum Nicholson, 26, said he will continue to wear masks on buses and in shops.
“It’s to help other people and out of respect for others,” he said.
The majority of people do respect each other, but there are some people who do not respect other people's personal space.Primary school worker Linda Phillips
The charity where he works in Redcar supports youngsters and adults, and he said ending restrictions has helped.
“We can support people better when we can meet indoors as well as outdoors,” he said.
Primary school worker Linda Phillips will also continue to wear a mask in shops.
She said: “The majority of people do respect each other, but there are some people who do not respect other people’s personal space.
“I work in a reception class and when we go back in September I will be wearing my mask (when she welcomes parents) even though we will not be required to do so.”
Audrey Raper, 87, from Darlington, was visiting the seaside for fish and chips, and had her mask in the shopping basket of her mobility aid.
She had tuberculosis when she was younger and spent six months in hospital.
The retired hospital cleaner said: “TB was rampant then and we didn’t take much heed.
“They’re more clued up now with the technology and I think people are better informed – it’s up to the public now to take heed of the warnings.”
Retired lorry driver Bernard Leavold, 77, said: “People should be wearing masks on buses, trains and in shops.
“I have noticed there are more people today in the high street, everyone has piled out – the sun has a lot to do with it.
It's about time. I think it is appalling what we have been doing to this countryWelder Alex Anderson
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we have 100,000 new cases a day in the country soon.”
Asked about freedom day, he said: “I feel the same as I did yesterday.”
But not everyone will still wear their mask in public.
Welder Alex Anderson, 45, said: “It’s about time, I think it is appalling what we have been doing to this country.”
Strolling on the promenade on his way to the golf course, he said: “I have felt safe all along, apart from the press with their propaganda machine, scaring old people.
“I have worn masks to comply but my own view is we don’t need them because they don’t work.”
Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Mary Lanigan, urged people to remain cautious.
She said: “We understand people will wish to take advantage of the easing of restrictions after such a difficult period but these infection figures in our area are clearly too high.
“That’s why we’re asking everyone to once again exercise caution and continue working together to continue to take some basic measures to reduce the spread of infection in our area.
“In addition to being cautious and considering others, getting vaccinated remains our route out of this pandemic.”
She added: “We’ve come so far together and now we need to look after each other once again and to stop the spread of this awful disease.”