'These pictures shame our city': Huge crowd in Liverpool ahead of new Covid rules

14 October 2020, 08:28 | Updated: 14 October 2020, 14:38

By Kate Buck

Crowds had to be dispersed from Liverpool city centre last night as pubs closed ahead of tier three restrictions coming into force.

Pub-goers spilled onto the streets at 10pm as the government's curfew was enforced, with revellers keen to get their last bit of fun ahead of the stricter rules.

Videos posted on social media showed hundreds of people - many not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing rules - chanting and dancing in the streets.

Speaking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty the Chief of Merseyside Police Andy Cook said the behaviour of these people was "selfish, dangerous, childish and is not at all reflective of the vast majority of people on Merseyside who have been doing the right thing.

"We cleared those individuals very very quickly following that display and I'm really pleased to say people as a whole are doing the right thing but sadly a small number of people like that bring shame on the city."

The Chief Constable told LBC the police gave out 35 fines on Tuesday night.

A video posted to Snapchat was captioned with "herd immunity here we come".

A witness told the Liverpool Echo: "A large group of young partygoers who were defying every single social distancing rule imaginable attacked a police car on Concert Square.

"This event had a particularly big impact on me because it made clear that this second lockdown that Liverpool will find itself in from tomorrow will have the potential to unleash a very dangerous wave of riots and uprising of people that don’t believe in coronavirus restrictions. This video might just be the start."

Pub-goers spilled onto the streets and were chanting and dancing
Pub-goers spilled onto the streets and were chanting and dancing. Picture: Social media
Liverpool is the first place to be placed under tier three restrictions
Liverpool is the first place to be placed under tier three restrictions. Picture: Social media

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said the images "shame the city" and showed why the tier three restrictions were needed.

He tweeted: "These pictures Shame our City, attacking our brave Police Officers is unacceptable.Our Health Service is creaking,300 in Hospital&30 people dead in week

"Ignoring these facts is why we are in Tier 3 measures."

The Merseyside area, along with Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Halton, are the first places in the country to be put under the most stringent measures of Boris Johnson's new 'three tier system'.

Tier three is the highest, and has strict rules on socialising and consuming alcohol.

It includes a ban on meeting anybody from outside your household - indoors or outdoors - and can land you with a fine of up to £10,000 if you repeatedly breach the rule.

Pubs and bars must close if they do not serve food, however if they can provide a "substantial" meal - more than snacks such as crisps - they are allowed to stay open.

Read more: What is a tier 3 lockdown and what areas will be included in it?

Liverpool has seen a huge surge in positive cases in recent weeks, and intensive care beds have been filling up fast.

Councillor Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health and social care at Liverpool City Council, said intensive care in the city was now at 90% capacity as hospitals looked to deal with the second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Mr Brant said: "Our intensive, critical care beds are filling up very fast.

"The most recent figures I've seen suggest they are over 90% full and our acute hospital trusts have occupancy levels of Covid-positive patients of over 250.

"At the current rate of increase, we would expect Liverpool to surpass the peak of the first wave probably within the next seven to 10 days."

Addressing the intensive care situation, he added: "They are not all Covid patients, I should say, but they are running very full and they are running with an increasing number of people who are Covid-positive."

He added: "It has become clear that the intensity of the demand on hospital services here in Liverpool is crowding out anything other than dealing with Covid."

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