Hundreds of drinkers hit the Toon for a boozy last night ahead of a northeast lockdown and 10pm curfew at a pub today.
Revelers flocked to Newcastle bars for a final blast before the region was slapped with tough new rules, as fears grew of a second nationwide lockdown.
More than two million people in the North East are now prohibited from meeting friends and family from other households – indoors or out.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be reduced to table service only and will have to close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
It comes as Lancashire and Merseyside also face new measures from tomorrow, with up to 10 million Britons now living under tighter restrictions.
Similar measures are being considered for the 9 million inhabitants of Leeds and London, according to The Sun.
They could also include restrictions on the use of public transport and stiffer fines for not wearing a mask.
Today’s increased restrictions apply to two million people in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.
And there are fears of a new wave, with 40,000 students are due to return to Newcastle University and another 20,000 to Durham University.
About 2,350 pubs and restaurants have been affected, according to real estate advisor Altus Group.
Sean Southern of The Gateshead Arms told MailOnline: “Things seemed to be improving and all of a sudden we were told last night that there are going to be big changes and that we really didn’t have the time. to prepare.
“People forget that closing at 10pm also has an impact on staff who might have wanted to take a few extra hours. “
Boris Johnson hasn’t ruled out another national shutdown – although with the growing number of lightning lockdowns in many areas, much of the country is already living with forced changes.
While all of England must now adhere to the ‘rule of six’ – which limits gatherings to half a dozen people – some entire regions live with or soon face tougher rules.
The increase in regional restrictions comes as scientists advise the government to want a two-week national lockdown next month to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, it has been reported.
Experts have suggested a mid-term October lockdown before the virus “breaks the NHS,” reports the Financial Times.
And with Covid cases rising alarmingly, Chief Testing Baroness Dido Harding enraged MPs by admitting officials didn’t expect demand to be so high.
Lady Harding, head of the NHS Test and Trace, criticized scientists for not predicting that up to a million people a day would demand a check from a system with a capacity of just 250,000 people.
I don’t think anyone expected to see a really big demand like we’ve been doing over the past few weeks
Head of NHS Tests and Traces, Lady Harding
She claimed people “scared and worried” were getting tested when they didn’t need it, also accusing a quarter of them of lying about their symptoms.
Lady Harding said: “I don’t think anyone expected to see a really big demand like we have in the last few weeks.
“None of the expected models (that). ”
Meanwhile, the country’s failing testing and tracing system could be outsourced to Amazon, the Telegraph reports.
And “chaotic” coronavirus testing labs are understaffed as scientists struggle to keep up with demand, according to the Times.
The testing fiasco came to light as parts of the country were placed under further restrictions.
Sky reports that stricter restrictions are also expected to be imposed on Lancashire, with the exception of Blackpool, from Saturday.
The Lancashire lockdown will include Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Lancaster and Morecambe, the broadcaster claims.
Meanwhile, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has said he expects further restrictions to hit the North West this week.
The Liverpool Echo reports he said: ‘We know there will be government meetings to decide what will happen next Friday, but we fully expect to be affected by the lockdown measures having passed the 100 threshold. cases per 100,000 governments.
“We think this may well be part of a larger Northwest lockdown, as you can see cases increasing across the region.
Liverpool has experienced a spike in coronavirus rates, with 106.4 cases per 100,000 people.
Virtues of a curfew
CURFEWS has helped reduce infection rates in Belgium.
At the end of July, all public places close at 11 p.m. and citizens were invited to stay in their homes from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
In mid-August, with the drop in prices, the curfew was relaxed from 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Earlier closing times can keep people from getting too drunk and too close to other party-goers.
But sociologist Professor Robert Dingwall of Nottingham Trent University said people could start their evening earlier.
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With demand for testing increasing across the country, it was not possible to book a slot yesterday in Liverpool, Wirral, Bury or Salford, all of which are among England’s 20 highest infection rates.
London has seen an increase in case rates in at least 30 boroughs, recent data shows. The city as a whole has an infection rate of 490.2.
And while the infection rate in some 20 arrondissements has reached the government-imposed restriction threshold, 500,000 students are expected to arrive in the capital for university.