Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Northerners hit the town for last Saturday night out before pubs shut

Britons in the north hit the town on Saturday for what could be their last night out before the prime minister plans to close pubs and bars on Monday.

Many were pictured enjoying their evening with friends in bars and pubs, getting in their final rounds before spilling out onto the streets when venues closed at 10pm.

The city centres of Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool were buzzing with party-goers and students, for what could be their last night of freedom with friends for some time.

Boris Johnson is set to unveil his three-tier system on Monday which will see hospitality venues closed in Covid-19 hotspots that are categorised under Level 3 – the most serious.

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Around 10 million residents in North England are expected to be put under stricter coronavirus measures to curb soaring infection rates in the coming days. It is not yet known how long the restrictions will remain in place, but the idea of four-week blocks has been suggested.

All bars, restaurants and pubs are reportedly expected to be ordered to close to the public for a second time in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Under the new regulations, households will also be banned from mixing and non-essential shops could may be forced to close, according to the proposed ‘traffic light’ system.

Leaders in the north have hit out at Downing Street’s proposals, accusing the Government of treating the region as ‘second-class’ and did not rule out possible legal action.

They said the current local restrictions in place have not been given enough of a chance to make an impact and were blindsided by the rules. Leaders said Rishi Sunak did not give them the opportunity to have their say in his bailout package.

Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham said the Government has provided ‘insufficient’ help for affected regions to cope with the financial fallout of the three-tier rules, as other leaders warned the plans could trigger an ‘economic catastrophe’.

Leaders said it will not go far enough to help struggling northern businesses, particularly in the hard-hit hospitality industry which has been grappling with the 10pm curfew.

Burnham added: ‘I’m angry actually about being told the effect on people’s lives is non-negotiable. We will not surrender our constituents to hardship nor our businesses to failure.’

However, the Sunday Times reported ministers were drawing up proposals to give town halls more powers over the test and trace system to try to secure their support.

It comes as the number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus increased across every part of England on Saturday – rising to 1,167 in the north west, up from 725 the previous week.

A further 15,166 cases were reported on Saturday, and 81 more deaths were confirmed of people who died within 28 days of testing positive.

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