ENTERTAINMENT

Revelers hit the town before Christmas


Hardy revelers across the UK have defied lockdown restrictions, freezing temperatures and even the mutated Covid virus to enjoy a few hours of freedom.

A number of people in festive robes have been spotted in York city center, although the numbers were definitely lower than in previous years.

Several people posed, and although the stores saw a massive drop in visitor numbers compared to last Christmas Eve, it was not surprising that fewer people were out at night.

This woman in York was one of the few people who got in the Christmas spirit hours before Santa Claus arrived

With bars and restaurants across the country closed and meeting people from other households restricted, many decided to avoid going out

With bars and restaurants across the country closed and meeting people from other households restricted, many decided to avoid going out

Others enjoyed a quiet night in a restaurant before tomorrow's big day

Others enjoyed a quiet night in a restaurant before tomorrow's big day

Millions more people will face the toughest coronavirus restrictions starting Boxing Day as the UK imposes a travel ban on South Africa amid concerns about another new strain of Covid-19.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the "very worrying" new variant is likely to be more transmissible than the mutant strain that led to the creation of the new Tier 4 restrictions.

More than 40 percent of the UK population have adjusted to lockdown conditions as of Boxing Day after another six million people were subjected to Tier 4 restrictions.

Mr Hancock said the UK variant of the coronavirus had spread at a "dangerous rate" as he announced measures, which include strict restrictions on mixing with people and closing non-essential stores.

This woman in a Santa hat and mask was walking through downtown York

This woman in a Santa hat and mask was walking through downtown York

Large shopping areas reported fewer customers, while only a small percentage of people took the risk of taking a walk

Large shopping areas reported fewer customers, while only a small percentage of people took the risk of taking a walk

Usually on Christmas Eve these streets were full of night owls enjoying a few drinks before heading home to the celebrations

Usually on Christmas Eve these streets were full of night owls enjoying a few drinks before heading home to the celebrations

Huge parts of the country will enter Tier 4 after Christmas, with more to come

Huge parts of the country will enter Tier 4 after Christmas, with more to come

These two young women were spotted in Liverpool city center tonight

These two young women were spotted in Liverpool city center tonight

The changes came because government figures showed an additional 744 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, the highest

Areas moving to Tier 4 from Boxing Day are: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts of Essex that are not yet Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire – including Portsmouth and Southampton, but with the exception of the New Forest.

Tier 4 restrictions include a stay-at-home warning, restricting the mixing of households to two outdoors, and closing many stores, hairdressers, and gyms.

The measures come on top of Tier 3 restrictions like closing pubs and restaurants, with the exception of food stalls and deliveries.

Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including North Somerset Council Area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire, and Cheshire and Warrington will all be escalated to Tier 3.

Cornwall and Herefordshire are switching from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

The changes mean 24 million people will now be in Tier 4, or 43% of the population of England.

Northern Ireland confirmed a case of the new variant of Covid-19, which was first discovered in the UK on Wednesday evening.

A woman with a Santa Claus posed with a friend on a cobbled street

A woman with a Santa Claus posed with a friend on a cobbled street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stay home for Christmas to stop the spread of Covid-19 - and its new mutant variant in particular

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stay home for Christmas to stop the spread of Covid-19 – and its new mutant variant in particular

High street retailers have been hit this year in the wake of Covid restrictions. Northumberland Street is shown today

High street retailers have been hit this year in the wake of Covid restrictions. Northumberland Street is shown today

Shoppers on Northumberland Street in Newcastle city center do their Christmas Eve shopping this afternoon

Shoppers on Northumberland Street in Newcastle city center do their Christmas Eve shopping this afternoon

In Tier 4 areas, visitor frequency decreased 27% from last week, while in Tier 1, the number of people in city centers increased by a quarter, according to Springboard data

In Tier 4 areas, visitor frequency decreased 27% from last week, while in Tier 1, the number of people in city centers increased by a quarter, according to Springboard data

Traffic to all brick and mortar retail outlets in the UK was 40% lower today than it was on Christmas Eve last year, with central London seeing a 79% drop after major stores closed

Traffic to all brick and mortar retail outlets in the UK was 40% lower today than it was on Christmas Eve last year, with central London seeing a 79% drop after major stores closed

Companies selling groceries are allowed to stay open for takeout as they are considered essential businesses. The picture shows the Market Porter, a pub in the market

Companies selling groceries are allowed to stay open for takeout as they are considered essential businesses. The picture shows the Market Porter, a pub in the market

People enjoy a take away drink at Borough Market in central London, where thousands of visitors were today

People enjoy a take away drink at Borough Market in central London, where thousands of visitors were today