Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

festive festive

The British mark the countdown to Christmas with sparkling evenings (Photo: Getty)

Christmas party guests were out in full force last night in scenes reminiscent of the time before Covid.

The British wore their best festive outfits as they visited pubs across England to celebrate the first Friday in December.

Bars and clubs were packed in London, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle, giving a big boost to the hospitality sector.

The value of the industry to the economy over Christmas is thought to be more than £ 10 billion, including £ 5.1 billion on food and a further £ 5.1 billion on beverages.

But there are fears that it is facing another blow this Christmas season in the midst of the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

Earlier this week, pub and restaurant owners clashed with the government as Christmas parties were canceled in droves after ‘disastrous’ 48 hours of conflicting advice from ministers and officials.

Dr. Jenny Harries, one of Britain’s best scientists, sounded the alarm on Tuesday when she said people should cut off their social contacts and only socialize “if you have to”.

    Revelers in Newcastle enjoys an evening in the city

The British wore their best festive outfits as they visited pubs to celebrate the countdown to Christmas (Photo: North News & Pictures)

Revelers in Newcastle enjoys an evening in the city

The busy scenes are reminiscent of the time before Covid (Photo: North News & Pictures)

Man in Santa Claus costume

It comes as a boost to the hospitality sector, after reports that Christmas parties have been canceled (Photo: SnapperSK)

Christmas parties in Leeds

The government has urged people to continue as usual despite the advent of Omicron (Image: NB press ltd)

At a press conference later that day, Boris Johnson said not to follow this advice and insisted that people continue with the festivities as usual.

But members of his own top team sparked more confusion when a government department canceled its Christmas party and a minister warned against ‘kind under the mistletoe’.

George Freeman, the business minister, said companies should reconsider holding big parties for hundreds of employees, revealing that his department would not hold its own event.

It happened after Thérèse Coffey, the Labor and Pensions Secretary, said that even though everyone should try to enjoy Christmas, “I do not think there should be much snog under the mistletoe”.

A rare cross-party consensus erupted when the health minister and the Labor leader both said ministers should not tell people who they can and cannot kiss.

Sajid Javid said: ‘People can snatch whoever they want – it has nothing to do with the government you kiss.’

So Friday in an attempt to keep things positive, Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden said the Tory party would lead by example and throw their own Christmas party as he urged people to ‘keep calm and move on’.

** Number plates may need to be pixelated - Moving footage with relevant desk ** (Image: Two girls wearing Christmas sweaters on Broad Street in Birmingham on the first Friday in December as Christmas partygoers enjoyed their evening without restrictions while the Omicron variant continues to rise The photo was taken: 03/12/2021) - Revelers in Birmingham took the opportunity to take to the streets in Christmas clothes the first weekend in December, as the possibility of further Covid restrictions rises with the rise in Omicron cases.  Groups of partygoers wore Christmas sweaters, hats and reindeer antlers.  There was also a couple of Santa ???  and Mrs. Claus too.  Police kept an eye on them on Broad Street, the city's infamous nightclub.  A couple wearing Santa hats stumbled and fell to the floor as they misjudged a curb.  A Santa Claus was also seen standing behind a large metal fence, almost as if he was locked inside, hopefully not a sign of what was to come.  Ireland recently announced new restrictions on hospitality due to an increased increase in coronavirus cases.  From 5 December, all nightclubs will be closed, groups of 6 will only have access to pubs that will perform a table service, and face clothing will be worn when they are not at your table.  It is not known whether Britain will follow Ireland's decision in the time leading up to the busiest time of the year.  ENDS

Many people put on their Christmas sweaters when they went out in Birmingham (Photo: SnapperSK)

Dated: 04/12/2021 Scammers in Newcastle enjoy an evening in the city with some in a festive mood celebrating the first Friday night in December in the time leading up to Christmas.  See nightlife drinkers summary

There were also busy scenes in Newcastle (Photo: North News & Pictures)

Dated: 04/12/2021 Scammers in Newcastle enjoy an evening in the city with some in a festive mood celebrating the first Friday night in December in the time leading up to Christmas.  See nightlife drinkers summary

Revelers braved the cold to kick off the party season in style (Photo: North News & Pictures)

Dated: 04/12/2021 Scammers in Newcastle enjoy an evening in the city with some in a festive mood celebrating the first Friday night in December in the time leading up to Christmas.  See nightlife drinkers summary

The government has urged people to ‘keep calm and continue’ as usual (Image: North News & Pictures)

That comes as the number of Omicron cases in the UK continues to rise, with a total of 160 confirmed from Saturday.

The government announced tonight that all travelers arriving in the UK will be required to take a Covid-19 test before departure – while Nigeria will be added to the red list.

Sir. Javid said ministers decided to act after receiving new data on the spread of Omicron, which emerged in southern Africa.

‘Since we have learned from this new variant, our strategy has been to buy time. We have always said that we will act quickly if new data requires it, “he said.

‘In recent days, we have learned of a significant number of growing cases related to travel with Nigeria.

‘There are already 27 cases in England and it is growing. Nigeria is now only behind South Africa in terms of related matters to Omicron. ‘

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) later said the correct figure was 21.

Dated: 04/12/2021 Scammers in Newcastle enjoy an evening in the city with some in a festive mood celebrating the first Friday night in December in the time leading up to Christmas.  See nightlife drinkers summary

The number of Omicron cases in the UK has risen to 160 (Image: North News & Pictures)

Christmas parties in Leeds have the liquor festival begin in earnest on 3/12 21 ??? .. despite the threat from omicron covid

Ministers are still convinced that this Christmas will be better than last year (Photo: NB Press)

Dated: 04/12/2021 Scammers in Newcastle enjoy an evening in the city with some in a festive mood celebrating the first Friday night in December in the time leading up to Christmas.  See nightlife drinkers summary

While some companies canceled Christmas events, others stuck to their festive plans (Photo :: North News & Pictures)

The Scottish and Welsh governments said they both adopted similar controls – much to the dismay of the travel sector, which has hit the measure.

Researchers have described Omicron as the ‘most worrying ever’ because of its ability to evade immunity from vaccines or past infection. Countries around the world have introduced temporary restrictions, while more work is underway to assess the threat.

More than half of the cases of Omicron in the UK are among Britons who are double-vaccinated, health officials have revealed.

Some scientists have called for returning to work from home guidance to limit the spread.

However, the government insists that the current measures are ‘balanced and proportionate’.

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Revelers kicks off the Christmas party season in lift for pubs, while Omicron is spreading

A further 26 cases were found in the UK today, bringing the total to 160

Mandatory face masks have already returned to shops and public transport, while arrivals in the UK will have to isolate themselves until they get a negative Covid result from a PCR test.

Ministers believe that this and an accelerated booster program will keep a new wave of the pandemic at bay.

The government has promised to offer all adults in England a booster by January, with the time between the second and third dose cut from six months to three.

A new study yesterday gave a glimmer of hope that this will work, with trials showing that third doses are likely to protect against Omicron as well as other variants that have spread since the original virus that appeared in Wuhan .

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