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Thousands of punters took to dance floors across England for a wild Friday night without needing to show Covid passes or use masks for the first time since Plan B measures were brought to an end.
Revellers packed out clubs, bars and pubs across England for boozy celebrations yesterday evening as the nation fully embraced its first weekend of partying without Plan B measures in place.
Hundreds of people were pictured queuing to get into bustling venues in Newcastle and Leeds, while young people also made the most of the end of social distancing and the rule of six in Swansea and Cardiff.
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the end of Plan B measures in England, which included work from home guidance, masks in schools and public places, and the use of Covid passports in large venues.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s night life came back with a bang on Monday, January 24 after Nicola Sturgeon lifted an array of strict measures to curb the number of people allowed at indoor events in the country.
Restrictions on nightclubs, the use Covid passes and social distancing were all relaxed in Northern Ireland from Wednesday.
The home nations came under fire for their collective decisions to force embattled hospitality businesses to close over the busy festive period under draconian measures, while England remained restriction-free.
Revellers enjoy the first full weekend of partying in Newcastle without draconian Plan B measures in place
Hundreds of people were pictured queuing to get into bustling venues in Newcastle without needing to show Covid passes or use masks for the first time
It was the first weekend that young people were able to go to nightclubs in England and Wales with the reduction in Covid numbers
These three girls were photographed last night in Leeds City Centre, celebrating the first weekend of freedom from Covid-19
A man is arrested by police on Friday evening in Newcastle as revellers packed out clubs, bars and pubs across England for boozy celebrations yesterday evening
These friends in Leeds also celebrated the end of the Plan B Covid-19 rules which were removed during the week
Revellers in England were pictured celebrating the first full weekend without significant Covid restrictions.
Though most restrictions in England were lifted earlier this month, England officially moved from Plan B to Plan A on Thursday.
The move included the ditching of masks in indoor areas, such as pubs, bars and hospitality venues. Work from home guidance was also lifted earlier this week.
Daily Covid cases, deaths and hospital admissions have all tumbled in the past 24 hours as the country’s Omicron wave continues to recede.
Government dashboard data shows there were another 89,176 positive tests across the country in the past 24 hours, marking a 7 per cent decrease on last Friday.
Daily infections hit a plateau last week – which was attributed to rising cases in primary schools and people returning to work – after coming down rapidly from a peak of over 200,000 earlier in the month.
But they have started to fall again this week, albeit gradually, despite compulsory face masks and vaccine passports being scrapped in England.
Health officials said there were 277 more coronavirus deaths registered in the UK on Friday – down by around 4 per cent in a week.
Nightclubs reopened in Wales for the first time in 2022 after First Minister Mark Drakeford downgraded the nation’s Covid alert status, allowing this girls in Wind Street, Swansea to enjoy a night out on the town
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford moved to Covid alert level zero yesterday, allowing nightclubs to reopen and cancelling social distancing rules. These five girls used bin bags to protect themselves from the rain in Cardiff on Friday night
Large groups of people queued up outside Pryzm nightclub in Cardiff upon the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions
Clubbers improvised with plastic bags to protect themselves from the wet and windy weather as Covid rules were finally relaxed in Wales
Hundreds of people stood waiting to get into the Live Lounge in Cardiff, which was allowing patrons in for the first time this year
Despite the threat of rain, partygoers stood outside nightclubs in cities like Cardiff, pictured, after nightclubs reopened
Hundreds of young people were pictured queuing to get into Pryzm nightclub in Cardiff for a wild Friday night
First Minister Mark Drakeford moved to Covid alert level zero yesterday, allowing nightclubs to reopen and cancelling social distancing rules.
Last week, crowds were permitted to return to outdoor sporting events in Wales and limits were removed from taking part in outdoor activities.
But the Covid pass will continue to be required for entry to larger outdoor events attended by more than 4,000 people, if unseated, or 10,000 people when seated.
Covid passes will still be required in all Welsh cinemas, theatres and concert halls which are currently open.
Last night, nightclubs reopened and the requirement for two-metre social distancing and the rule of six ended.
But Welsh businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
Working from home will remain part of the advice from the Welsh Government but it will no longer be a legal requirement.
Everyone must also continue to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus but the Welsh Government has reduced the self-isolation period from seven to five full days.
Face-covering rules, which apply on public transport and in most public indoor places remain in place.
Mr Drakeford said: ‘We have passed the peak of this Omicron wave and there are encouraging signs that cases of coronavirus may be starting to stabilise.
‘But we all need to continue taking steps to stay safe – unfortunately the pandemic is not over yet.
‘We are moving to alert level zero and we will retain some important protections, such as face coverings in most indoor public places and risk assessments.
‘We can do this thanks to the hard work and efforts of everyone in Wales and the remarkable success of our vaccine and booster programmes. Thank you all.’