On Friday, Revellers didn’t show any Omicron-related festive fears as they danced and let loose as SAGE scientists requested a lockdown of the circuit breaker to stop rising cases.

Photos taken in Leeds (London), Birmingham, Birmingham, and Newcastle show busy nightlife venues packed with revelers on Black Eye Friday — one of most popular nights of year. 

Nightclubs filled with punters packed in Leeds, London, and Newcastle Friday night. Meanwhile, large crowds filled German-style Christmas markets in Birmingham and cheered the sight of Father Christmas. 

After the Welsh government declared that nightclubs would be closing on December 27, and that social distancing regulations were being reinstated, many young Cardiffans made the most of the last night before Christmas by heading to Cardiff.

Despite Friday’s impressive showing, Tory ministers will hold crunch talks this weekend in order to determine whether Covid curbs need to be implemented. This is following dire warnings by scientists from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. 

According to leaked SAGE minutes, restrictions were needed “very soon” to stop hospitalizations rising to 3,000 per day. Plans for a lockdown of the circuit breaker and a ban on indoor mixing were also outlined.

A Cobra emergency meeting will be held to discuss whether a coordinated response is required across the UK in light of Omicron’s threat. The meeting will raise fears that more curbs could be imposed before Christmas – despite the opposition of Tory MPs and Downing Street’s apparent determination to get through without them.

It comes as Britain recorded its highest number of daily infections since the pandemic began, with a total of 93,045 people testing positive for Covid in the past 24 hours, up 60 per cent in a week. 

Industry experts feared that the government’s alarmist messages about the Omicron mutant strain were affecting customers confidence during what should have been a peak time for bars, restaurants and pubs.

Festive takings will fall up to 40% in December. This is a devastating blow to venues that have survived previous lockdowns but are not expecting financial assistance.

BIRMINGHAM: Father Christmas is seen standing in the centre of packed out and mask-less crowds in Birmingham on Black Eyed Friday

BIRMINGHAM – Father Christmas can be seen in Birmingham, in the center of the chaotic and mask-less Black Eyed Thursday crowds

NEWCASTLE: Hundreds of young people hit Newcastle town centre on Black Eyed Friday

NEWCASTLE – Hundreds of youths throng Newcastle Town Centre on Black Eyed Thursday

LEEDS: A group of young revellers hit the town on Black Eye Friday, one of the busiest nights of the year for pubs, bars and nightclubs

LEEDS: This is a group of young revellers who hit the streets on Black Eye Friday. It’s one of the most busy nights for bars, nightclubs and pubs of the year.

CARDIFF: Punters packed into bars and clubs in the Welsh capital despite a steep rise in Omicron cases

CARDIFF: Punters packed into bars and clubs in the Welsh capital despite a steep rise in Omicron cases

LONDON: Hundreds of people gather round a street performer as they make the most of one of the last weekends of 2021

LONDON: As they enjoy one of the final weekends in 2021, hundreds gather around a street entertainer. 

CARDIFF: Late on Thursday, the Welsh government said it would close nightclubs from December 27 and impose a two-metre social distancing rule. Pictured: Punters enjoy the festivities in Cardiff

CARDIFF: The Welsh government announced late on Thursday that it will close all nightclubs in December and establish a social distancing limit of two metres. Pictured: Cardiff revellers are punters

NEWCASTLE: A group of girls celebrating their friend's 21st birthday hit the clubs on the final Friday before Christmas

NEWCASTLE: On the Friday prior to Christmas, a group of young girls celebrated the 21st birthdays of their friends.

CARDIFF: A young woman watches on as a group of revellers enjoy their chips outside a JD Wetherspoon in Cardiff

CARDIFF – A young lady watches as some revellers eat their chips at a JD Wetherspoon outside Cardiff

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been pictured arriving back in the UK at Heathrow Airport for crunch talks with furious hospitality bosses struggling with plummeting demand due to the Omicron mutant strain

Rishi Sunak is seen arriving in London at Heathrow Airport, where he will be meeting furious hotel bosses who have been struggling to cope with dropping demand from the Omicron mutant strain.

Leaked minutes of a SAGE minutes warned that restrictions will be needed 'very soon' to prevent hospitalisations from soaring to 3,000 a day, as plans for a two-week circuit breaker lockdown with a ban on indoor mixing were said to have been drawn up

According to leaked SAGE minutes, restrictions were needed “very soon” to prevent hospitalisations reaching 3,000/day. There are also plans to lock down the circuitbreakers for two weeks and ban indoor mixing.

The Cobra meeting this weekend, which included ministers representing all devolved administrations of the country, was the second such event in as little time. 

Boris Johnson had crisis talks earlier in the week with three leaders of devolved governments, including Nicola Sturgeon as first minister from Scotland.

The experts supported a ban of indoor social contact as well as hospitality during the Thursday meeting. Britons are likely to regret hosting New Year’s parties in the future, so they demand that new measures be taken before January 1st.

‘The timing of such measures is crucial,’ said the minutes, seen by the BBC.

‘Delaying until 2022 would greatly reduce the effectiveness of such interventions and make it less likely that these would prevent considerable pressure on health and care settings.’ 

According to The Times, Whitehall officials are currently preparing regulations which would prohibit indoor meeting except for work. Pubs and restaurants would only be allowed outside service. 

Sage minutes report that advisers recommended returning to restrictions described in Step One, Two and Lockdown in Spring, which included an indoor ban on social contact.

They warned that solely sticking to Plan B could lead to ‘at least’ 3,000 hospital admissions a day in England. The number of admissions has been anywhere from 800 to 900 each day for the past week. Introducing these measures early enough ‘could substantially reduce the peak in hospital admission and infections compared with Plan B alone’, the minutes said.

Boris Johnson was presented with several options yesterday for a so-called Plan C, ranging from ‘mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown’, according to the Financial Times.  

Britain's daily Covid cases have rocketed to record levels for the third day in a row with 93,000 people diagnosed in 24 hours

Britain’s Covid daily cases have risen to records for the third straight day with 93,000 people being diagnosed in less than 24 hours

Covid hospital admissions have spiked by more than a third in a week in Britain's Omicron hotspot of London, official data shows. Some 199 infected patients were admitted to wards in London on Tuesday, the most recent day UKHSA figures are available for

Official data shows that covid hospital admissions in Britain’s Omicron hotspot London have increased by over a third within a week. 

Rishi Sunak could be subject to further restrictions if he is not willing to help the industry, which was already affected by the announcements regarding the new strain.

California’s Chancellor was seen arriving in Britain for crunch talks.

Although Mr Sunak was in America on a ‘long-planned trip’ to meet with tech leaders, his timing has been criticized. One top British executive told the FT that he had too many ‘organic kale savories’.

Yesterday, the Chancellor met with hospitality leaders via Zoom. However, he had to cancel one roundtable event due to a call scheduled with US healthcare executives.

Following the spreading of the variant and Covid’s advice to be more cautious before Christmas, booking cancellations have been on the rise. Bosses now demand that the government provide fresh financial support. Industry leaders expect the final total to hit £4billion of lost takings.

However, Mr Sunak insists ministers are already supporting the economy, saying to the BBC that while businesses only pay a quarter to their business rates bill until spring next year, they benefit from a lower rate of VAT through next spring and that about 25% of the cash is available to local authorities for support these businesses.

Yesterday, Mr Sunak, Chief Secretary to Treasury Simon Clarke, called firms such as Prezzo, Black Sheep Brewery and Nando’s. 

Ministers weren’t telling people to cancel Christmas celebrations, he said. We don’t tell people to cancel anything, nor are we closing businesses.

Numerous people are angry at government scientists’ advice to decrease socialising. This has resulted in a crash of trade.

Ministers will decide this weekend whether any new Covid restrictions are needed following the latest dire warnings from scientists. An emergency Cobra meeting will discuss if a joint response to the threat of the Omicron variant is needed across the UK. (The PM is pictured in west London on Friday)

Following the recent dire warnings by scientists, ministers will make a decision this weekend about whether new restrictions for Covid. The UK’s emergency Cobra meeting will address the issue of whether there is a need for a collective response to Omicron variant threats. (The Prime Minister is seen in London’s west on Friday).

CBI and others asked him to grant emergency funds, to get 100 percent relief on retail business rates, and to reduce VAT to 5% in hospitality and tourism.

Concerns were raised by business groups about possible cancellations of certain sectors. They also stressed the importance of clear communication from the government.

This was after figures revealed that London’s West End footfall on Thursday was 32% lower than the previous day of 2019, prior to the pandemic. These numbers fell 7 percentage points compared to a week prior.

Traffic conditions in the same time period were today 33% at Birmingham, 36% Manchester, 40% Liverpool, 34% Sheffield, 46% Leeds and 28% Newcastle.

After being hit with a “double whammy” of employee absences, and falling consumer confidence, pubs and restaurants are now closing earlier for Christmas.

Some restaurants claimed they could not close their doors because of coronavirus infected staff.

Jace Tyrrell is the chief executive officer of New West End Company. He stated: “With increasing Covid cases dampening consumers confidence and a planned Tube Strike looming Saturday, we anticipate a muted last weekend of Christmas trading at an time when West End business should be enjoying a much needed boost.

“The Government should act fast to offer temporary financial support for leisure businesses in the UK. If we don’t, further viable companies could close their doors within the next months.”

Kitty Ussher (CEO of the Institute of Directors) stated that it was sensible to cancel pandemic-related business assistance schemes as soon as business conditions looked to be returning to normal.

However, the Omicron variation and subsequent decline in demand for some areas of the economy have made it clear that this is not the case anymore. It couldn’t be worse for venues, restaurants and travel businesses.

“We ask government to stop devaluing support programmes such as VAT reduction for hotel and business rates.

This is a worrying sign that Britain may see up to 460,000 Covid cases per day by Christmas Eve. If the infection rate continues to rise as scientists anticipate, two million people will be forced into isolation. This could lead to major disruption in key services due to people staying home. 

Labour has asked the government to create a support package to the sector, but the ministers have not yet committed to any cash.

As Omicron surges, it is possible that hundreds of thousands of Covid cases could be recorded in the UK by Christmas Eve.

It could result in millions of Brits becoming isolated, possibly causing major disruption in the workplace and key industries.  

Boris Johnson has been accused by the hospitality industry of imposing a lockdown by stealth after Professor Chris Whitty encouraged people to reduce their socializing in the following days.    

Yesterday Mr Johnson denied making the claim, saying: “We are not saying we want to cancel stuff. We’re also not locking down anything. The fastest path back to normality, however, is to get boosted.

Some pubs and restaurants in small towns are considering closing their doors rather than staying open. This is either due to the fact that many of their employees have contracted Covid or their reservations have almost all been cancelled. However, the majority of venues are still open while very few large chains have closed.