Revellers across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire enjoyed one last night of freedom as they hit the town before the region is forced into a strict Tier 3 lockdown.
The measures, which took effect from 12.01am on Friday morning (October 30), mean bars that don't serve meals will be forced to shut, while alcohol can only be served alongside food.
The strict measures have been enforced after Nottinghamshire's infection rates rose to become on of the highest in the country, according to Department of Health and Social Care data.
The weekly case rate in the county is now 364 per 100,000 people.
Announcing the Tier 3 measures in Nottingham, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said infection rates are "rising sharply" across the county, so the new measures are needed "to stop this virus in its tracks".
"I want to thank local leaders for their continued support, and to extend my gratitude to the people of Nottinghamshire who have shown real resilience," he added.
The Tier 3 restrictions mean many people headed out into Nottingham city centre on Thursday evening to take advantage of the last opportunity to head out and grab a drink in some of the city's establishments.
Bars will now be unable to serve customers for at least 28 days, with pubs and restaurants also expected to see a drop in trade.
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Simon and Mandie Fyfe have decided to temporarily close their two pubs.
The Rose of England, in Mansfield Road, Nottingham, and Duke of Cambridge, in Woodborough Road, Mapperley, will shut from Thursday because most customers go there to drink.
Mr Fyfe said: "Maybe 20% of our customers would come for a meal and a drink but the other 80% they come for a pint and a catch-up. We have already lost half of our income due to the current restrictions on closing times and social distancing, I believe Tier 3 would cut another third off that revenue.
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"After very serious consideration and speaking to my managers and supervisors we have made the decision to close both pubs for initially one week so we can assess the impact and damage the new Tier 3 level has impacted on the hospitality industry.
"I do not believe strangling the hospitality industry by restricting sales of alcohol will slow down the pandemic. I'm aware of various chain and managed pubs that will continue to operate and we shall be assessing whether we can emulate any ideas that they may have."
He added: "We would like to thank all our customers for their loyal support during these troubled times and we WILL re-open again soon."
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Nottinghamshire Live headed out into the city on the final night to bask in the atmosphere before the rules came into force.
Jamal Ahmed, 25, a retail worker in the city who’s originally from London, said: “I haven’t been out for a while so to me the city looks completely dead and it’s surprising to hear that its actually busier than usual.
“I think I’m the same as a lot of people, I’ve just come out to watch the football in a bar before the city falls silent tomorrow.”
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Darren Hart, 43, from Carlton was out drinking with his wife Marie in Foreman Street.
He said: "It’s a massive shame for all these bars around here that don’t serve food.
“We’ve got a long weekend as we were supposed to be going away this weekend but it’s been cancelled because of Tier 3 so we headed out to have one last drink in the city.
“I really hope it doesn’t last long and the businesses can get back open soon.
“There are so many hard working bars and pubs in Nottingham and it’s horrible to see they’re having to close just because they don’t serve substantial meals.”
Lucy Gascoigne, 18, a University of Nottingham student, said: “It’s all a bit sad really, we’ve not had much chance to get the full freshers experience so we’ve just come out tonight for one last night in the bars.”
Ryan Merrigold, 20, a student at Nottingham Trent University, is out with his housemates.
He said: “It’s the last chance to get out into the pubs and actually have a pint.
“I won’t be going out to buy food with my drinks when the rules come into place so it’s about enjoying the beer tonight and hoping the rules don’t last long.”
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