Revellers hit the streets for one last time before second lockdown begins

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read

Watch: Britons hit the town ahead of second lockdown

Revellers took to the streets on Wednesday night for one last party before the second national lockdown came into force.

As pubs and restaurants prepared to close their doors for four weeks after Wednesday night, people made the most of their final opportunity to go out before restrictions were put in place.

From today, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors after the Commons voted by 516 to 38 – a government majority of 478 – for the new restrictions.

The lockdown, that is set to last four weeks, is intended to protect the NHS as the government seeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

People out in Leeds city centre, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday.
People out in Leeds city centre, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (PA)
 People dining at the restaurants on James Street on the eve of the 2nd Lockdown in London. Pubs and restaurants to close as England forced into new national coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
People dining at the restaurants on James Street in London on the eve of the second lockdown. (PA)

Towns and cities across England on Wednesday night saw crowds of people taking the opportunity to socialise and drink before tougher restrictions were imposed.

However, along with the good-natured partying, there were also some altercations with the police, which saw officers being attacked in Merseyside.

Merseyside Police said in a statement hundreds of people gathered at a bonfire on Meadow Crescent, Woodchurch, where officers had fireworks thrown at them after being called just before 9pm.

Chief inspector Gary O’Rourke said: “Not only did police and fire patrols come under attack on their arrival, which could’ve had catastrophic results, but there was a blatant disregard for COVID-19 restrictions, with hundreds of people in attendance drinking alcohol, mixing with other households and ignoring social distancing.

“We will not tolerate this behaviour and are now looking at a number of lines of enquiry, including examining footage and speaking to witnesses, to ensure robust enforcement action is taken.”

Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police’s response to COVID-19, said the force would undertake extra patrols to ensure public compliance with the regulations.

People out in Bristol city centre, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
People out in Bristol city centre, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (Getty)
 People sitting outside the Cock and Lion pub in Marylebone on the eve of the 2nd Lockdown in London. Pubs and restaurants to close as England forced into new national coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
People sitting outside the Cock and Lion pub in Marylebone on the eve of the second Lockdown. (PA)

Meanwhile, chief constables in the north-west of England said they would target the minority of the public who flouted rules by holding large gatherings, music events and parties.

And on social media Londoners reported high levels of traffic in the city as people attempted to leave before lockdown.

“Total traffic madness cycling home at 7pm,” Mary Creagh, CEO at walking charity Living Streets tweeted.

“Tonight, everywhere is a high traffic neighbourhood.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: People are seen queuing outside a restaurant in Soho on November 4, 2020 in London, England. Non-essential businesses, including pubs and restaurants, will be forced to close from Thursday, Nov 5, following a new national lockdown in England. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
People are seen queuing outside a restaurant in Soho before it is shut down for lockdown. (Getty)
Police patrol in Bristol city centre, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police patrol in Bristol city centre, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. (Getty)

After Boris Johnson suggested the lockdown could go on beyond the 2 December deadline, a group of northern Conservative MPs warned him that they do not want their constituencies “locked into lockdown” indefinitely.

Chairman of the Northern Research Group (NRG) of Tory backbenchers, Jake Berry, has called for more clarity from Johnson for a roadmap out of the measures for a second time in little more than a week, as dissent appears to be growing within the Conservative Party.

Wednesday’s vote on the lockdown saw a bigger-than-expected Commons rebellion, as 32 Tory MPs defied the whips to vote against the measures, with two more acting as tellers for the noes.

Watch: Can you catch the coronavirus twice?

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