Neither coronavirus nor wet and cold weather could keep punters out of the pubs as the countdown to Christmas continues – and harsh tiers restrictions loom.
Festive costumes and revellers in high spirits were common sights across the UK on Friday night as the weekend kicked off.
With temperatures in the low single figures and rain pouring down across large parts of the country, revellers looked ready for anything as they were spied out in coats, hats, and carrying umbrellas.
Friends and bubble groups hit the town in York, Liverpool and London – which are all currently under Tier 2 regulations – and others in Cardiff also dressed up for a night out on the town.
However, stricter measures are expected to come in to force after Covid-19 cases began to rise following the end of lockdown 2.0 at the beginning of December.
London is tipped to enter Tier 3 regulations next week after cases in all boroughs began to rise after restrictions lifted on December 2.
Cities and counties in England that are placed into Tier 3 see pubs and hospitality venues forced to close and friends are no longer allowed to meet in gardens.
A decision on London’s Tier status is expected to be made on Wednesday with the view to come into effect on December 19.
The restrictions would be lifted on December 23 for five days to allow families to gather to celebrate Christmas together.
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However, experts have this weekend advised families to "rethink" their festive plans amid concerns that cases will continue to rise following the Christmas week.
The Welsh government has come under fire over its handling of Covid cases after the country was placed into a "fire breaker" lockdown to tackle surging virus cases.
However, there are fears a further lockdown could be imminent in the country as cases of the virus have continued to rise.
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In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon's government has come under fire from some over an overcomplicated five-tier system numbered from zero to four – while political games been blamed for apparent mishandling of Covid outbreaks.
There has been outrage that name Scottish independence backing councils and counties, such as Glasgow, have seen lenient Covid restrictions introduced by the SNP government – while pro-UK areas like Aberdeen and Edinburgh have been harshly penalised over outbreaks.
All the while local Scottish businesses have struggled to survive due to lockdown-enforced closures and questions over why millions of support money offered by the UK government has yet to reach businesses in need – while some SNP backed businesses have been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds of emergency funding.
Over in Northern Ireland – which has excelled in testing and tracing compared to the rest of the UK – local government has come under fire over confusing lockdowns which have seen businesses permitted to open for brief weeks at a time.
A beacon of hope has, at least, emerged amid all the confusion and strife over lockdowns tier levels as the first batch of Covid vaccinations began being rolled out in the UK last week.
It is hoped the most vulnerable in the UK will be vaccinated by March and a number of coronavirus restrictions can start to be lifted.
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