The final hurrah in Scotland! Drinkers flock to bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh ...

Drinkers in Scotland partied to closing time last night as they did anything but toast Nicola Sturgeon's incoming 16-day alcohol ban.

Groups enjoyed the chance to have one final pint in Glasgow and Edinburgh before the sweeping restriction comes in at 6pm this evening.

Scotland's First Minister imposed the two-week alcohol ban inside pubs and restaurants across the country and closed bars entirely in coronavirus hotspot areas.

It comes as punters were out and about in the North of England as it also faces tougher anti-Covid measures, with tens of thousands of venues across the region threatened with temporary closure from next week.

Two women make the most of their last chance to enjoy pubs for the next two weeks in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on Thursday night

Two women make the most of their last chance to enjoy pubs for the next two weeks in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on Thursday night

For some, the chance to have a final beer before the restrictions, was something to record on their phones for posterity (pictured, Glasgow)

For some, the chance to have a final beer before the restrictions, was something to record on their phones for posterity (pictured, Glasgow)

A woman holds up her phone as her friend brandishes her near-empty pint in Edinburgh on Thursday night ahead of new restrictions

A woman holds up her phone as her friend brandishes her near-empty pint in Edinburgh on Thursday night ahead of new restrictions 

Four friends share a joke and laugh during their night out in Edinburgh city centre on Thursday nights ahead of new restrictions

Four friends share a joke and laugh during their night out in Edinburgh city centre on Thursday nights ahead of new restrictions

Pubs and restaurants will have enjoyed a final night of custom ahead of the regulations, branded a 'death sentence' by some (pictured, Edinburgh)

Pubs and restaurants will have enjoyed a final night of custom ahead of the regulations, branded a 'death sentence' by some (pictured, Edinburgh)

The move in Scotland has been branded a 'death sentence' for hundreds of venues and has been slated by frustrated members of the public.

Ms Sturgeon took the unpopular decision after this week warning cases had started to surge among the older generation. 

She told MSPs at Holyrood that the situation was 'better than March', but admitted she needed to take a 'backward step' as she unveiled a dramatic 'circuit breaker' squeeze to coincide with the school half-term north of the border.

As well as a ban on serving alcohol, hospitality venues will only be allowed to open from 6am to 6pm as Ms Sturgeon said without the crackdown the virus could be 'out of control by the end of this month'. 

But in five 'hotspot' areas in Scotland's central belt, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to approximately 70 per cent of the population, pubs will be closed altogether apart from takeaways until October 26 and people will be advised against using public transport. 

Hospitality bosses last night described the decision as a 'total catastrophe' that will be the 'final straw,' for hundreds of venues.

The lure of one final drink saw huge queues at some venues for people trying to have their last night out before the ban (pictured, Edinburgh)

The lure of one final drink saw huge queues at some venues for people trying to have their last night out before the ban (pictured, Edinburgh)

Five Edinburgh drinkers raise their glasses for a final time before the hospitality sector is hit tonight by the new rukes

Five Edinburgh drinkers raise their glasses for a final time before the hospitality sector is hit tonight by the new rukes

Groups walked home after their last drink in Edinburgh, bracing themselves for the 16 days of not being able to buy a pint inside a pub

Groups walked home after their last drink in Edinburgh, bracing themselves for the 16 days of not being able to buy a pint inside a pub

A group of mates smile for a photograph as they sink their pints in Edinburgh city centre last night ahead of new measures tonight

A group of mates smile for a photograph as they sink their pints in Edinburgh city centre last night ahead of new measures tonight

Sector chiefs said Ms Sturgeon had 'effectively signed a death sentence for many businesses' and said the 'real problem' was socialising at home.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association told the Telegraph more than two-thirds of pubs, bars and restaurants 'could be mothballed or go under', along with more than half the sector's jobs. 

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock appeared to pave the way for a similar localised crackdown on pubs in England as he said that 'outside your household and socialising between households, the highest place in incidence of likely transmission, measured by where people have contacts, is unfortunately hospitality'.

However, a targeted shutdown of hospitality venues in hotspot areas appears more likely than a nationwide approach, with Downing Street still committed to its strategy of local lockdowns in specific areas where the virus has spiked.

Imposing some of the toughest restrictions in Europe, Ms Sturgeon said that if it was 'a purely one dimensional decision' about tackling the disease there would be even harsher action, but she was considering the wider economy and wellbeing.

But it provoked howls of protest from the hospitality industry, who branded the clampdown a 'total catastrophe' and warned a swathe of business will go under permanently.

Drinkers in Edinburgh share a final sup as they marked the final night before the coronavirus tackling rules were imposed

Drinkers in Edinburgh share a final sup as they marked the final night before the coronavirus tackling rules were imposed

In Edinburgh people made the most of their last night of freedom before Nicola Sturgeon's measures were due to hit today

In Edinburgh people made the most of their last night of freedom before Nicola Sturgeon's measures were due to hit today

Hordes of drinkers headed home after closing time at 10pm in Glasgow city, ahead of the drinking ban coming in today

Hordes of drinkers headed home after closing time at 10pm in Glasgow city, ahead of the drinking ban coming in today

Some revellers took selfies of their last night of drinking before the strict regulations came in for parts of Scotland (pictured, Glasgow)

Some revellers took selfies of their last night of drinking before the strict regulations came in for parts of Scotland (pictured, Glasgow)

Sturgeon calls time: Scotland's new Covid regulations in full
All pubs, restaurants and cafes barred from selling alcohol indoors for 16 days. They will additionally face a curfew forcing them to close by 6pm each evening. Outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to remain open up until 10pm and will be allowed to sell alcohol up to that time.  In five areas of Scotland's Central Belt - which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow - there will be additional restrictions on opening. Pubs, restaurants and licenced cafes in the 'hotspots' of Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley, will be forced to close to all but takeaway customers.  The measures come into force at 6pm on Friday for 16 days until October 25.   Residents of these areas have also been urged to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks. They should only use it to get to work, school or for other unavoidable journeys.  Outdoor live events will be banned in the five areas for the next two weeks. Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will close in these areas for two weeks from October 10. Contact sports and indoor group exercise for those aged 18 and over is suspended for the same period. Face coverings will become mandatory in indoor communal settings. An additional £40 million in funding will be made available to businesses impacted by the new restrictions.

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The extraordinary step - which Ms Sturgeon said would be accompanied with £40million of new compensation for stricken firms - came as Scotland reported more than 1,000 new infections in a day.

Just south of the border, ministers were accused of using flimsy data after they relied on figures based on fewer than 100 pubs to justify the potential closure of tens of thousands of venues across the North of England.

No10 faced a concerted backlash from local leaders and MPs over plans to subject millions of people living in the North to even tougher restrictions from next week.

One Tory MP said the data had been 'cobbled together' to justify the pub closures, using a three-month-old survey carried out in the US as well as cherry-picked figures.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of causing 'confusion, chaos and unfairness' by revealing the exact measures will be announced next week, while they are still being discussed.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty briefed 149 MPs from the North and the Midlands yesterday to tell them that a 'significant proportion' of exposure to coronavirus was happening in the hospitality sector.

He showed them a table which suggested that 32 per cent of

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