Guildford drinkers enjoy their last night in Tier 2

Drinkers embarked on a less than typical Mad Friday last night, with those under looser lockdown restrictions making the most of their final night of freedom – while the streets were largely deserted in normally bustling Tier 3 cities.     

Health Secretary Matt Hancock plunged numerous counties into the ‘very high alert’ top tier of coronavirus restrictions on Thursday, with 70 per cent of England set to be under the toughest rules from today.

The latest Tier 3 additions include Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, the whole of Hertfordshire, Surrey with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex, Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.  

Under the measures, people are not allowed to meet socially indoors, including in venues such as pubs and restaurants, with anyone outside of their support bubble or from another household. 

Those in Guildford made the most of their final moments in Tier 2 last night, with Britons seen heading to bars and restaurants on the last Friday before Christmas. The town will move from ‘high alert’ to ‘very high alert’ at midnight alongside the majority of Surrey. 

Elsewhere, the streets of London were quieter than expected on what is typically a busy night for Christmas parties, after Tier 3 restrictions which came into force on Wednesday shut down bars and restaurants. 

There were similar scenes in Cardiff, which is under Alert Level 3 of the Welsh four-level system. This means hospitality venues in the city close at 6pm, with nightclubs and theatres shut. 

Revellers in Liverpool enjoy Mad Friday, traditionally one of the busiest nights in the year, in Tier Two on Friday evening

Revellers in Liverpool enjoy Mad Friday, traditionally one of the busiest nights in the year, in Tier Two on Friday evening

Revellers in Liverpool enjoy Mad Friday, traditionally one of the busiest nights in the year, in Tier Two on Friday evening

Pictured: A man carries a woman on his back as Mad Friday winds down in Liverpool, which remains in Tier 2, on Friday

Pictured: A man carries a woman on his back as Mad Friday winds down in Liverpool, which remains in Tier 2, on Friday

Pictured: A man carries a woman on his back as Mad Friday winds down in Liverpool, which remains in Tier 2, on Friday

Pictured: Police gather in Liverpool as Mad Friday continues in lockdown, with some cities much busier than others

Pictured: Police gather in Liverpool as Mad Friday continues in lockdown, with some cities much busier than others

Pictured: Police gather in Liverpool as Mad Friday continues in lockdown, with some cities much busier than others

Pictured: Liverpool last night

Pictured: Liverpool last night

Pictured: Liverpool last night

Pictured: Liverpool last night

Drinkers embarked on a less than typical Mad Friday last night, with those under looser lockdown restrictions making the most of their final night of freedom – while the streets were largely deserted in normally bustling Tier 3 cities. Pictured: Liverpool 

Pictured: Revellers head for a night out in York on Friday after it was announced the city will remain under Tier 2 restrictions

Pictured: Revellers head for a night out in York on Friday after it was announced the city will remain under Tier 2 restrictions

Pictured: Revellers head for a night out in York on Friday after it was announced the city will remain under Tier 2 restrictions

In York, which will also remain in Tier 2 ahead of a review of restrictions on December 30, partygoers donned festive attire as they dressed up for a night out on Friday

In York, which will also remain in Tier 2 ahead of a review of restrictions on December 30, partygoers donned festive attire as they dressed up for a night out on Friday

In York, which will also remain in Tier 2 ahead of a review of restrictions on December 30, partygoers donned festive attire as they dressed up for a night out on Friday

Drinkers across the Home Counties embarked on their final evening out before Tier 3 restrictions are imposed at midnight - as those in York hit the streets again after it was confirmed the city would remain under looser lockdown rules. Pictured: Guildford

Drinkers across the Home Counties embarked on their final evening out before Tier 3 restrictions are imposed at midnight - as those in York hit the streets again after it was confirmed the city would remain under looser lockdown rules. Pictured: Guildford

Drinkers across the Home Counties embarked on their final evening out before Tier 3 restrictions are imposed at midnight – as those in York hit the streets again after it was confirmed the city would remain under looser lockdown rules. Pictured: Guildford

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday plunged numerous counties into the 'very high alert' top tier of coronavirus restrictions amid soaring number of infections across Britain, with 70 per cent of England set to be under the toughest rules from tomorrow

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday plunged numerous counties into the 'very high alert' top tier of coronavirus restrictions amid soaring number of infections across Britain, with 70 per cent of England set to be under the toughest rules from tomorrow

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday plunged numerous counties into the ‘very high alert’ top tier of coronavirus restrictions amid soaring number of infections across Britain, with 70 per cent of England set to be under the toughest rules from tomorrow

Those in Guildford made the most of their final moments of freedom last night, with Britons seen heading to bars and restrautants with their friends and family. The town will move from Tier 2 to Tier 3 at midnight alongside the majority of Surrey

Those in Guildford made the most of their final moments of freedom last night, with Britons seen heading to bars and restrautants with their friends and family. The town will move from Tier 2 to Tier 3 at midnight alongside the majority of Surrey

Those in Guildford made the most of their final moments of freedom last night, with Britons seen heading to bars and restrautants with their friends and family. The town will move from Tier 2 to Tier 3 at midnight alongside the majority of Surrey

Pictured: Those in Guildford enjoy a final night of drinking before the majority of Surrey enters Tier 3 at midnight last night

Pictured: Those in Guildford enjoy a final night of drinking before the majority of Surrey enters Tier 3 at midnight last night

Pictured: Those in Guildford enjoy a final night of drinking before the majority of Surrey enters Tier 3 at midnight last night

Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases

Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases

Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases

In Liverpool, revellers queued in the rain to enter clubs last night after it was confirmed on Thursday the city would remain under Tier 2 restrictions for another fortnight. The Liverpool City Region has avoided a surge in coronavirus infections since national lockdown restrictions were eased on December 2.

And in York, which will also remain in Tier 2 ahead of another review of restrictions on December 30, partygoers donned festive attire as they dressed up for a night out on the last Friday before Christmas. 

It comes as the Department of Health recorded 28,507 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours, up a third from the 21,672 last Friday, and 489 deaths, a rise of 14 per cent from a week ago.

Meanwhile, SAGE now estimates the Covid R rate – the average number of others infected by each person with the disease – is between 1.1 and 1.2 in the UK. It is the first time the reproductive number has definitely been above the crucial mark since the first week of the national lockdown last month.

It comes as the Department of Health recorded 28,507 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours, up a third from the 21,672 last Friday, and 489 deaths, a rise of 14 per cent from a week ago. Pictured: York on Friday

It comes as the Department of Health recorded 28,507 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours, up a third from the 21,672 last Friday, and 489 deaths, a rise of 14 per cent from a week ago. Pictured: York on Friday

It comes as the Department of Health recorded 28,507 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours, up a third from the 21,672 last Friday, and 489 deaths, a rise of 14 per cent from a week ago. Pictured: York on Friday

There were similar scenes in Liverpool (pictured), where revellers queued in the rain to enter clubs after it was confirmed the city would remain under Tier 2 restrictions for another fortnight

There were similar scenes in Liverpool (pictured), where revellers queued in the rain to enter clubs after it was confirmed the city would remain under Tier 2 restrictions for another fortnight

There were similar scenes in Liverpool (pictured), where revellers queued in the rain to enter clubs after it was confirmed the city would remain under Tier 2 restrictions for another fortnight

The Liverpool City Region has avoided a surge in coronavirus infections since national lockdown restrictions were eased on December 2. Pictured: Liverpool on Friday

The Liverpool City Region has avoided a surge in coronavirus infections since national lockdown restrictions were eased on December 2. Pictured: Liverpool on Friday

The Liverpool City Region has avoided a surge in coronavirus infections since national lockdown restrictions were eased on December 2. Pictured: Liverpool on Friday

Pictured: Revellers head home in Liverpool on Friday after heading out with friends for Mad Friday, the last Friday before Christmas

Pictured: Revellers head home in Liverpool on Friday after heading out with friends for Mad Friday, the last Friday before Christmas

Pictured: Revellers head home in Liverpool on Friday after heading out with friends for Mad Friday, the last Friday before Christmas 

Pictured: People drink in the rain in Windsor last night before new Tier 3 restrictions came into force at midnight on Friday

Pictured: People drink in the rain in Windsor last night before new Tier 3 restrictions came into force at midnight on Friday

Pictured: People drink in the rain in Windsor last night before new Tier 3 restrictions came into force at midnight on Friday

Pictured: Britons wait in the rain to enter a pub in Windsor, Berkshire after it was announced the town will enter Tier 3

Pictured: Britons wait in the rain to enter a pub in Windsor, Berkshire after it was announced the town will enter Tier 3

Pictured: Britons wait in the rain to enter a pub in Windsor, Berkshire after it was announced the town will enter Tier 3

SAGE now estimates the Covid R rate - the average number of others infected by each person with the disease - is between 1.1 and 1.2 in the UK. Pictured: Guildford

SAGE now estimates the Covid R rate - the average number of others infected by each person with the disease - is between 1.1 and 1.2 in the UK. Pictured: Guildford

SAGE now estimates the Covid R rate – the average number of others infected by each person with the disease – is between 1.1 and 1.2 in the UK. Pictured: Guildford

Pictured: A police officer speaks to revellers outside a pub in Guildford on the last night before the area plunges into Tier 3

Pictured: A police officer speaks to revellers outside a pub in Guildford on the last night before the area plunges into Tier 3

Pictured: A police officer speaks to revellers outside a pub in Guildford on the last night before the area plunges into Tier 3

In England, the rate stands even higher at between 1.1 and 1.3, while experts warned it might be as high as 1.4 in the East, and 1.3 in both London and the South East. Last week, Britain’s R number – which doesn’t represent Friday’s outbreak – was between 0.9 and 1.  

London was plunged under Tier 3 rules on Wednesday, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street briefing that action had to be taken to slow ‘sharp, exponential rises’ in infection rates. 

The streets of the capital were largely abandoned on Friday night, with ‘sorry we’re closed’ signs adorning the doors of typically bustling venues in Soho.

Reports last night suggested London and the South East could be ‘cut off’ from the rest of the UK with potential travel bans announced as soon as today – as a new ‘highly contagious’ coronavirus variant rips through the region. 

Boris Johnson could announce a strengthening of Covid-19 advice after holding a meeting in which ministers are understood to have discussed how to contain the mutant strain, it was said.

This has so-far been confined to London and the South East, with scientists warning the new variant is 50 per cent more contagious than any strain detected before.

One source told the Daily Telegraph that Downing Street could restrict travel to and from the South East, with other proposed measures banning commuters from travelling into London. 

It is understood the Prime Minister was last night provided with new evidence on the harmfulness of the mutant strain. 

London was plunged under Tier 3 rules on Wednesday, after Mr Hancock told a Downing Street briefing that action had to be taken to slow 'sharp, exponential rises' in infection rates. Pictured: Soho on Friday night

London was plunged under Tier 3 rules on Wednesday, after Mr Hancock told a Downing Street briefing that action had to be taken to slow 'sharp, exponential rises' in infection rates. Pictured: Soho on Friday night

London was plunged under Tier 3 rules on Wednesday, after Mr Hancock told a Downing Street briefing that action had to be taken to slow ‘sharp, exponential rises’ in infection rates. Pictured: Soho on Friday night

The Met Police has vowed to crack down on anti-lockdown protests in London over the last weekend before Christmas, as organisers claim 'many thousands' will demonstrate in Parliament Square tomorrow. Pictured: Soho on Friday

The Met Police has vowed to crack down on anti-lockdown protests in London over the last weekend before Christmas, as organisers claim 'many thousands' will demonstrate in Parliament Square tomorrow. Pictured: Soho on Friday

The Met Police has vowed to crack down on anti-lockdown protests in London over the last weekend before Christmas, as organisers claim ‘many thousands’ will demonstrate in Parliament Square tomorrow. Pictured: Soho on Friday

The force said extra officers will be on the capital city's streets to encourage compliance with strict Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations and to 'swiftly clamp down on those wilfully and dangerously ignoring them'

The force said extra officers will be on the capital city's streets to encourage compliance with strict Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations and to 'swiftly clamp down on those wilfully and dangerously ignoring them'

The force said extra officers will be on the capital city’s streets to encourage compliance with strict Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations and to ‘swiftly clamp down on those wilfully and dangerously ignoring them’

Pictured: The scene in Cardiff last night on the last Friday before Christmas, which typically sees thousands take to the streets

Pictured: The scene in Cardiff last night on the last Friday before Christmas, which typically sees thousands take to the streets

Pictured: The scene in Cardiff last night on the last Friday before Christmas, which typically sees thousands take to the streets

It comes as the Met Police vowed to crack down on anti-lockdown protests in London over the last weekend before Christmas, as organisers claim ‘many thousands’ will demonstrate in Parliament Square tomorrow. 

The force said extra officers will be on the capital city’s streets to encourage compliance with strict Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations and to ‘swiftly clamp down on those wilfully and dangerously ignoring them’. 

Scotland Yard issued an open letter published on the Met Police’s website ahead of the demonstration expected tomorrow, with others also planned around England.

The force asked people not to attend any large gathering and warned they may be at risk of committing a criminal offence if they do.

Gatherings of more than six outdoors are illegal under coronavirus rules, although there is a list of exemptions which includes protests where all relevant safety precautions are in place.

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in England and Wales, earlier this week wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel highlighting the health risks to those policing protests.

Pictured: Friends grab a last pint together in Guildford on the final Friday before Christmas as Guildford plunges into Tier 3

Pictured: Friends grab a last pint together in Guildford on the final Friday before Christmas as Guildford plunges into Tier 3

Pictured: Friends grab a last pint together in Guildford on the final Friday before Christmas as Guildford plunges into Tier 3

Pictured: Police appear to disperse crowds outside a Nandos restaurant in Guildford as Mad Friday winds down for 2020

Pictured: Police appear to disperse crowds outside a Nandos restaurant in Guildford as Mad Friday winds down for 2020

Pictured: Police appear to disperse crowds outside a Nandos restaurant in Guildford as Mad Friday winds down for 2020

Pictured: Groups of friends gather on outdoor picnic tables as pubs close for the night and revellers head home

Pictured: Groups of friends gather on outdoor picnic tables as pubs close for the night and revellers head home

Pictured: Groups of friends gather on outdoor picnic tables as pubs close for the night and revellers head home

Pictured: Some partygoers headed to off-licenses following the closure of pubs for Tier 3 in Windsor, Berkshire last night

Pictured: Some partygoers headed to off-licenses following the closure of pubs for Tier 3 in Windsor, Berkshire last night

Pictured: Some partygoers headed to off-licenses following the closure of pubs for Tier 3 in Windsor, Berkshire last night

What are the Tier 3 rules?

  • Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys must close;
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway;
  • Shops and hairdressers and salons will be allowed to remain open;
  • Groups of six will be allowed to meet outdoors only;
  • Crowds at live events will be banned;
  • People should avoid travelling out of, or into, Tier 3 areas unless it is unavoidable;
  • People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside.
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National chairman John Apter and Met Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh described the Christmas footfall coupled with a mass demonstration as a potentially ‘deadly and unmanageable mix’.

The Met said the force will focus on disrupting large gatherings adding that protest organisers must stick to Government regulations as well as their submitted risk assessment.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: ‘Where we become aware of planned events that will breach regulations, we will try to engage with organisers or venues to make them fully aware of the restrictions that are in place to keep people safe.

‘However, if people do not listen to our advice and fail to comply with the rules, we will be forced to take enforcement action.

‘With infection rates rising rapidly across the capital, we all need to play our part in preventing the spread of the virus.

‘This is the final weekend before Christmas, so now is not the time for complacency. 

‘I know Londoners know what they should and should not be doing and I would urge everyone to act sensibly and do their part to keep our city safe.

‘Sticking to the guidelines put in place to keep us all safe and well is now more important than ever. 

‘This weekend we will ensure we deal with the activity of a few so as not to expose our communities at even greater risk during this pandemic.’

Some 11 people were arrested after a demonstration by about 200 protesters in London’s Parliament Square on Monday for alleged offences including breach of Covid-19 regulations, Public Order Act offences and assaulting an emergency worker.

During the second national lockdown at the end of November more than 150 people were arrested as activists marched from Hyde Park to Oxford Circus and Regent Street, clashing with police.

A closed Queens Vaults pub on Westgate Street in Cardiff, Wales last night. A two-household limit will be in place from December 23 to December 27 and three in the rest of the UK

A closed Queens Vaults pub on Westgate Street in Cardiff, Wales last night. A two-household limit will be in place from December 23 to December 27 and three in the rest of the UK

A closed Queens Vaults pub on Westgate Street in Cardiff, Wales last night. A two-household limit will be in place from December 23 to December 27 and three in the rest of the UK

The streets were empty last night in Cardiff, which is under Alert Level 3 of the Welsh four-level system. This means hospitality venues in the city close at 6pm, with nightclubs and theatres shut

The streets were empty last night in Cardiff, which is under Alert Level 3 of the Welsh four-level system. This means hospitality venues in the city close at 6pm, with nightclubs and theatres shut

The streets were empty last night in Cardiff, which is under Alert Level 3 of the Welsh four-level system. This means hospitality venues in the city close at 6pm, with nightclubs and theatres shut

Pictured: Empty tables inside a venue in Cardiff one what is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for drinkers

Pictured: Empty tables inside a venue in Cardiff one what is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for drinkers

Pictured: Empty tables inside a venue in Cardiff one what is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for drinkers

A man walks down a quiet High Street in Cardiff last night as Britons opt to stay home due to the coronavirus crisis

A man walks down a quiet High Street in Cardiff last night as Britons opt to stay home due to the coronavirus crisis

A man walks down a quiet High Street in Cardiff last night as Britons opt to stay home due to the coronavirus crisis

The last Friday before Christmas is known as Mad Friday, and is typically when work Christmas parties take place in cities

The last Friday before Christmas is known as Mad Friday, and is typically when work Christmas parties take place in cities

The last Friday before Christmas is known as Mad Friday, and is typically when work Christmas parties take place in cities

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