Brits enjoy ‘last night of freedom’ in boozy scenes as Tier 3 restrictions loom

Brits made the most of what could be the final weekend of the year for care-free, if Covid compliant, drinking in a string of Tier 2 locations that are teetering on the brink of tougher restrictions.

Revellers in York, Liverpool and London took to bars and pubs on Saturday night to meet in groups of six for outdoor drinks or for indoor celebrations for those from the same household or support bubble.

Some dressed up in festive fancy dress to enjoy a night of boozing – accompanied with a "substantial meal" as per Tier 2 requirements.

While others braved chilly weather conditions by stepping out in flesh-baring outfits.

It wasn’t all just people out boozing that packed streets in Tier 2 locations, as streets including Regent Street in London, saw an uptick in pedestrians as members of the public dashed to complete Christmas shopping.

There are concerns that London will be plunged into Tier 3 conditions by next weekend following a sharp rise in positive Covid-19 test results.

While the spread of coronavirus was slowed by an England-wide lockdown last month, cases have surged again since retail and hospitality venues were allowed to reopen again on December 2.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan made a last-minute desperate bid to remind everyone of the continued risk of coronavirus by erecting "hands, face, space" signs across the capital’s high streets.

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In addition, extra Covid cops and marshals have been dispatched in London over the weekend to deal with additional people on the streets.

The tier system is due to be reviewed on Wednesday with speculation rife that London will be required to enter Tier 3 conditions on Saturday 19.

In such an event, pubs and hospitality venues could be forced again to close their doors just days before Christmas.

It is expected that the planned "Five days of Christmas" are to go ahead from December 23 to allow families from across the UK to meet in extended bubbles to celebrate the festive season.

On Sunday, figures from the Public Health England showed London had recorded an average 191.8 new cases per 100,000 in the week up to December 6.

The figure is 20 per cent higher than the previous week when England had been in lockdown.

While stats from areas of North West England which are already under Tier 3 rules show that the virus is less prevalent at 130.9 cases per 100,000.

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