Festive revellers make most of Tier 2 hitting the town on Christmas Eve

Punters in Tier 2 hit the pubs on Christmas Eve, while millions stayed home under tougher restrictions.

Despite freezing weather, drinkers made the most of their comparatively eased lockdown and joined family and friends on a night out.

Under Tier 2, pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues are allowed to remain open in areas such as Liverpool and York.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed millions under Tier 4 in a bid to prevent the spread of the new strain of coronavirus.

However, under Tier 2, thought people can visit pubs, punters must order a substantial meal with their drinks and cannot mix with another household indoors.

Pictures show people following the government guidelines by staying in small groups as cases continue to rise across the country.

The streets were largely empty and revellers few and far between on what is likely to be the strangest Christmas yet.

But a few hit the town following months of restrictions in the north with one woman wearing a Christmas tree outfit and another wearing a mask and Santa hat, reports The Mirror.

However, large parts of the country were unable to enjoy a few tipples the night before Christmas due to Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions.

It comes as coronavirus cases case hit a record high of 174,000 in a week while millions face being plunged into Tier 4 lockdowns on Boxing Day.

  • UK records nearly 175k coronavirus cases in one week – highest ever recorded

Yesterday the Department of Health announced a further 574 deaths and 39,036 infections recorded in the previous 24 hours.

Many will be having a very different Christmas today after the government was forced to backtrack on plans to allow members of three households to mix for five days over the holidays.

On Saturday a panicked Boris Johnson announced a new Tier 4, where no Christmas bubbles are permitted at all, while mixing in all other tiers is only permitted on Christmas Day itself.

Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged everyone to minimise their social contact over Christmas as much as possible, regardless of what the rules say in their area.

“We simply cannot have the kind of Christmas that we all yearned for,” he said.

  • Earlier coronavirus lockdown in UK could have saved 20,000 lives, new study claims

A total of 24 million people will be living in Tier 4 from 12.01am on Boxing Day – 43 per cent of the population of England.

This includes six million people who were added to Tier 4 in Wednesday's briefing, in areas including Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Wales and England both have an R number of 1.3, according to latest estimates, while Scotland's stands at 1.1.

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