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Revellers hit the town for one last night of freedom before new ‘rule of six’ comes in on Monday

Revellers up and down the country hit the town for one last night of freedom before the tough new ‘rule of six’ comes into force from Monday.   

Large groups of drinkers gathered at bars and restaurants in London, Nottingham, Manchester, Portsmouth and Leeds this evening to take advantage of their last few hours of freedom before the government tightens lockdown restrictions next week.

In London’s West End, hundreds of drinkers could be seen singing along and dancing as a busker played a tune, with very few revellers paying attention to the government’s social distancing measures.  

Under Boris Johnson’s strict new measures, groups of more than six can be broken up by police who will be able to hand out £100 fines to those who flout the rules.

This will double on each repeat offence up to £3,200 and only schools, workplaces and a limited number of other locations will be exempt.

The move, introduced to tackle the rising spread of coronavirus, comes as a Government-led study yesterday suggested the reproduction ‘R’ rate could be as high as 1.7 in England. 

Tim Robson, the North East’s representative on the national Pubwatch scheme, expected police officers would strictly monitor bars over the weekend to ensure they are operating safely.

LONDON: General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London’s West End. People have been warned against having a ‘party weekend’ as a former chief scientific adviser said the UK is ‘on the edge of losing control’ of coronavirus

LONDON: People enjoying a night out in Leicester Square in London's West End

LONDON: People enjoying a night out in Leicester Square in London’s West End

NOTTINGHAM: Revellers flock to city centre bars to enjoy a night out before coronavirus rules change on Monday

NOTTINGHAM: Revellers flock to city centre bars to enjoy a night out before coronavirus rules change on Monday

MANCHESTER: Drinkers flock to bars and restaurants in Manchester to enjoy a night out before lockdown restrictions are tightened on Monday

MANCHESTER: Drinkers flock to bars and restaurants in Manchester to enjoy a night out before lockdown restrictions are tightened on Monday 

PORTSMOUTH: Hundreds of people enjoy a Saturday night on the town in the pubs and bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire

PORTSMOUTH: Hundreds of people enjoy a Saturday night on the town in the pubs and bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire

LEEDS: Revellers hit the bars in Leeds tonight before tougher new 'rule of six' comes into force from Monday

LEEDS: Revellers hit the bars in Leeds tonight before tougher new ‘rule of six’ comes into force from Monday 

He said: ‘There is an anticipation that everyone is going to have a big last binge, but people are starting to get fearful and a lot of licensed premises have already been clamped down on by the police.’

Mr Robson, a former police officer, said it will be up to licensees to manage their premises and break up large groups from gathering together unsafely.

He added: ‘There may be a rise in groups going out this weekend, but it will be probably to premises who don’t have door supervision and control.’

Meanwhile Newcastle upon Tyne’s director of public health Eugene Milne has said he did not think large numbers of people would go out for a big binge ahead of the tighter controls coming in. 

He told Tyne Tees TV News: ‘At the opening of lockdown there was a real fear that that might happen in the city, and that didn’t happen so I think we can trust people.

‘The idea of the rule of six is to make it easier for people to know how to stick with the guidance and I think one of the big problems has been the guidance has progressively got so complicated, so specific to particular areas, that it becomes very confusing for everybody.’

Revellers enjoy a night out ahead of the new Covid restrictions across Greater Manchester as the 'rule of six' comes into force on Monday

Revellers enjoy a night out ahead of the new Covid restrictions across Greater Manchester as the ‘rule of six’ comes into force on Monday

Revellers were seen not to be socially distancing as the police made a heavy presence across Manchester as partygoers let loose ahead of the new restrictions being introduced on Monday

Revellers were seen not to be socially distancing as the police made a heavy presence across Manchester as partygoers let loose ahead of the new restrictions being introduced on Monday

Hundreds of people enjoyed a Saturday night on the town in the pubs ad bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Many were in groups of more than six people, which will be banned from Monday

Hundreds of people enjoyed a Saturday night on the town in the pubs ad bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Many were in groups of more than six people, which will be banned from Monday

A group of people enjoy a night out on Saturday at Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire, before the new restrictions are introduced on Monday

A group of people enjoy a night out on Saturday at Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire, before the new restrictions are introduced on Monday

Drinkers crowd outside the packed Paramount Wetherspoons in Manchester tonight before new lockdown restrictions are introduced on Monday

Drinkers crowd outside the packed Paramount Wetherspoons in Manchester tonight before new lockdown restrictions are introduced on Monday 

Revellers hit the streets in Leeds tonight for one last night of freedom before tougher new coronavirus lockdown measures come into force from Monday

Revellers hit the streets in Leeds tonight for one last night of freedom before tougher new coronavirus lockdown measures come into force from Monday 

Hundreds of people enjoy a Saturday night on the town at the pubs and bars on Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire

Hundreds of people enjoy a Saturday night on the town at the pubs and bars on Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire

General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London's West End tonight, before new lockdown measures are introduced on Monday

General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London’s West End tonight, before new lockdown measures are introduced on Monday 

People sing and dance as they watch a street performer in Leicester Square, in London's West End

People sing and dance as they watch a street performer in Leicester Square, in London’s West End

Police make a heavy presence across Greater Manchester this weekend as revellers were seen not to be socially distancing

Police make a heavy presence across Greater Manchester this weekend as revellers were seen not to be socially distancing

Revellers were seen not to be socially distancing in Greater Manchester as the police made a heavy presence across the city

Revellers were seen not to be socially distancing in Greater Manchester as the police made a heavy presence across the city

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the spike in infections justifies the Government’s new ‘rule of six’, warning people ‘the pandemic is not over’. 

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove today urged people to act ‘in tune with’ the rules this weekend ahead of the ‘rule of six’ coming into force or risk increasing the rate of spread of coronavirus.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘If people do behave in a way that is not really in line or in tune with the guidelines that have been put out then they are putting other people at risk.

‘The reason why the country’s police chiefs have said that they hope people behave with appropriate restraint this weekend is we do not want to see a further acceleration of the spread of the virus.’

Members of the public spend a night out in Central London, Britain tonight. The British government is due to implement new restrictions banning gatherings of six people from Monday

Members of the public spend a night out in Central London, Britain tonight. The British government is due to implement new restrictions banning gatherings of six people from Monday 

Members of the public spend a night out in Central London, Britain tonight. The British government is due to implement new restrictions banning gatherings of six people from Monday

Members of the public spend a night out in Central London, Britain tonight. The British government is due to implement new restrictions banning gatherings of six people from Monday

Members of the public spend a night out in Central London, Britain tonight. The British government is due to implement new restrictions banning gatherings of six people from Monday

Members of the public spend a night out in Central London, Britain tonight. The British government is due to implement new restrictions banning gatherings of six people from Monday

He denied that the Government was losing control of Covid-19. ‘No. I don’t accept that,’ he said.  

Mr Gove also rubbished claims that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s hugely popular Eat Out To Help Out programme contributed to the spread of coronavirus, and said fines could be necessary in order to enforce self-isolation rules.

Speaking to the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, he said: ‘We’re not saying people shouldn’t see their friends but there does need to be a degree of self-discipline, of restriction to deal with the challenges we are facing.’

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster also responded to criticism of the Government’s anti-Covid crackdown, saying people can only have freedom if it is exercised ‘responsibly’.  

Nottingham revellers flock to city centre bars to enjoy a night out before coronavirus rules change on Monday. Crowds of people flocked to bars and pubs in the city. Long queues were seen outside a number of bars with social distancing at a minimum

Nottingham revellers flock to city centre bars to enjoy a night out before coronavirus rules change on Monday. Crowds of people flocked to bars and pubs in the city. Long queues were seen outside a number of bars with social distancing at a minimum

Nottingham revellers flock to city centre bars to enjoy a night out before coronavirus rules change on Monday.

Nottingham revellers flock to city centre bars to enjoy a night out before coronavirus rules change on Monday.

General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London's West End, shortly after being warned not to have a 'party weekend' by scientific advisers

General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London’s West End, shortly after being warned not to have a ‘party weekend’ by scientific advisers 

Revellers hit the town in Leeds on the last weekend before the government's tough new 'rule of six' comes into force

Revellers hit the town in Leeds on the last weekend before the government’s tough new ‘rule of six’ comes into force 

‘I don’t want to see fines being levied but even more I do not want to see people behaving in a way that puts the most vulnerable at risk,’ Mr Gove told the Today programme this morning. ‘Well there are restrictions, and I love freedom, but the one thing I think is even more important is that you exercise freedom with responsibility. 

‘When you are exercising freedom, you should do so in a way that does not do harm to others.’ 

As hundreds of Britons enjoyed a final weekend of freedom, police bosses urged people to look after each other and avoid a ‘party weekend’ before the restrictions are implemented.

General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London's West End. People have been warned against having a "party weekend" as a former chief scientific adviser said the UK is "on the edge of losing control" of coronavirus. The public has been urged to act "in tune" with Covid-19 guidelines before the "rule of six" restrictions come into force on Monday

General view of people enjoying a night out in Soho, in London’s West End. People have been warned against having a ‘party weekend’ as a former chief scientific adviser said the UK is ‘on the edge of losing control’ of coronavirus. The public has been urged to act ‘in tune’ with Covid-19 guidelines before the ‘rule of six’ restrictions come into force on Monday

Hundreds of people enjoyed a Saturday night on the town in the pubs and bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire

Hundreds of people enjoyed a Saturday night on the town in the pubs and bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire

Hundreds of people enjoyed a Saturday night on the town in the pubs and bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Many were in groups of more than six people which will be banned from Monday

Hundreds of people enjoyed a Saturday night on the town in the pubs and bars in Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Many were in groups of more than six people which will be banned from Monday

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘There is a real risk some members of the public will take advantage of the current situation and treat this weekend as a party weekend ahead of the tighter restrictions being introduced on Monday.

‘Alcohol and warm weather are not a good combination at the best of times. Using the current situation as an opportunity and excuse to party would be incredibly irresponsible and put pressure not only on policing, but potentially on the ambulance service and NHS.

‘We are in the grip of a deadly pandemic and we have seen cases increasing over recent weeks. Policing is under pressure like never before, but my colleagues will give enforcement notices if they feel it’s appropriate, and we make no apology for doing so.’ 

eople are seen dancing to a busker in Leicester Square tonight in London, England. From Monday, September 14, groups of more than six will be banned from meeting under new coronavirus restrictions

eople are seen dancing to a busker in Leicester Square tonight in London, England. From Monday, September 14, groups of more than six will be banned from meeting under new coronavirus restrictions

Revellers enjoy a night of freedom in Soho tonight ahead of the government’s new rule of six which comes into force from Monday 

A couple wearing masks are seen in front of crowds on September 12, 2020 in London, England. From Monday, September 14, groups of more than six will be banned from meeting under new coronavirus restrictions

A couple wearing masks are seen in front of crowds on September 12, 2020 in London, England. From Monday, September 14, groups of more than six will be banned from meeting under new coronavirus restrictions

Elsewhere, would-be revellers were encouraged to stay home as Birmingham became the latest city to be hit with localised lockdown rules after the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to hospitals doubled in a week. 

From Tuesday, more than 1.5million people in Birmingham and neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell will be banned from mixing with anyone outside of their own household in private homes, pubs, restaurants or in gardens.

Yesterday, police officers told the Telegraph they fear Britain will resemble the ‘last days of Rome’ after this weekend amid a storm of decadent planned pre-lockdown parties.  

One officer, based in the north east of England, said: ‘We are worried this weekend is going to be like the last days of Rome.  

Revellers enjoy a night of freedom in Soho tonight ahead of the government's new rule of six which comes into force from Monday

Revellers enjoy a night of freedom in Soho tonight ahead of the government’s new rule of six which comes into force from Monday

‘If people think they are not going to be allowed to go out and enjoy themselves for the next few months, they are going to go crazy and we will be left picking up the pieces.’

Britons have promised to run riot and enjoy one last knees-up with friends before Mr Johnson’s stringent new coronavirus restrictions come into force.  

Many are having to cancel parties after warnings of a rapid increase in infections among people in their teens, 20s and 30s – but fears have risen that some will take the weekend as an opportunity to run wild despite the ongoing pandemic.

A senior officer said they were not sure if police had the resources to meet the challenge of thousands of people ignoring restrictions this weekend.   

Chairman of the Police Federation in West Yorkshire, Brian Booth, added officers were ‘flat out again doing the everyday things such as dealing with stabbings, shootings, drug dealers, missing people etc’. 

‘If we are going to be asked to focus on enforcement, something else will have to give,’ he said.       

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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