Brits enjoy final night out in the North before 10pm pub curfew starts

Partygoers in Newcastle enjoyed a final blow out before new coronavirus restrictions are enforced in the North East.

Revellers were seen having a last night out before lockdown measures were put back into place at midnight in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the measures yesterday as these areas have seen a sharp rise in cases of Covid-19.

As of today around 2 million residents are banned from mixing with other households both indoors or in gardens, with pubs and restaurants closing their doors between 10pm and 5am. They are also only allowed to offer table service.

Sunderland has a rate of 103 cases per 100,000 people, while in South Tyneside, Gateshead and Newcastle the figures were all above 70.

There were 1,106 new cases in just one week across the areas being put under the latest restrictions.

Sean Southern from The Gateshead Arms told MailOnline: ‘We used to be open until 12.30am, then because of Covid we reduced that to 11pm and now we’re being told we have to shut at 10pm.

‘Those hours are absolutely crucial for us, and probably our busiest time for those who want to have a few drinks before going further afield or going home.

‘There are a few bars in the area which have closed down over the last few weeks and so we’ve sort of taken on those customers as well as our regulars recently.’

Matt Hancock said council leaders in the North East had written to him following ‘concerning rates of infection’ urging that tighter restrictions were put in place.

He said: ‘I know, the whole house knows, that these decisions have a real impact on families, on businesses, and on local communities and I can tell everyone affected that we do not take these decisions lightly.

‘We agree with the local councils that we must follow the data and act. And the data says that we must act now, so we can control the virus and keep people safe.’

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said the measures are mostly being imposed on social gatherings because the virus is spreading faster in such situations.

He said: ‘The evidence we’ve found from local testing is that it’s spreading in three main areas: in pubs, in people’s homes and in grassroots sports.’

The county of Lancashire is also expected to be put into local lockdown in further measures announced this morning.

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