Scores of drunken revellers flooded the streets of Sheffield tonight for one final booze-up in the northern city as South Yorkshire was plunged into Tier 3 lockdown at midnight.
Some 7.3million people are under the most severe Covid-19 restrictions, including 1.6million people in Liverpool, 2.8million in Greater Manchester, 1.5million in Lancashire and 1.4million in South Yorkshire.
Social mixing is banned both indoors and in private gardens in Tier 3 areas, while pubs and bars must close unless they can operate as a restaurant. The Rule of Six applies in some outdoor settings such as parks.
Local leaders help the Government decide whether other venues should be closed, such as gyms - with the rules varying between areas so far. Up to 15 guests are allowed at weddings and 30 people can attend funerals.
Health officials imposed draconian restrictions on movement and business in a desperate attempt to suppress Covid-19, after the UK recorded more than 20,000 new cases of the virus.
Meanwhile, talks were continuing between the Government and local leaders in Nottinghamshire, with parts of the county expected to enter Tier 3 on Wednesday. And the council in Warrington in Cheshire, where many residents commute to Manchester and Liverpool, has confirmed that it will be moving to Tier 3 on Thursday.
Three more areas - Coventry, Stoke and Slough - have now also moved into Tier 2, the second highest alert level.
In other coronavirus developments:Wales was plunged into a two-week 'firebreaker' lockdown last night as police stepped up border patrols; Britain recorded 20,530 more coronavirus cases and 224 deaths as SAGE said the R rate has dropped; SAGE documents show that just one in 10 stay at home for two weeks after being told to self-isolate; Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland will move to a new five-level system of Covid-19 restrictions on November 2; Downing Street said families should gather for Christmas while a minister warned it will not be 'normal'; Papers presented to the Government claim that Covid-19 is mutating, London is not seeing a spike in cases and patients are dying quicker in the second wave than they did in the first; New data revealed almost half of local authorities in England saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week; Experts claimed the UK could never eradicate Covid-19, even if it banned all international travel to the nation; Police stop drivers on Irish border to check if they're permitted to travel as lockdowns are imposed; Fake coronavirus marshals have been pretending to check for rule breaches and stealing from homes.
A group of female revellers went out in Sheffield tonight ahead of South Yorkshire being plunged into Tier 3 lockdown
Groups of friends met to enjoy drinks in Sheffield city centre before the region was plunged into Tier 3 lockdown
Revellers gathered outside the Tiger Works cocktail bar in Sheffield city centre before Tier 3 restrictions were imposed
A group of female revellers wearing face masks drunkenly fell to the floor in Sheffield before the city was plunged into Tier 3
Groups of young people wearing face masks gathered on the streets of Sheffield before the city was plunged into Tier 3
A group of friends enjoyed drinks in Sheffield city centre before South Yorkshire was moved into Tier 3 Covid-19 lockdown
Female revellers sat on the street in Sheffield city centre before the Tier 3 lockdown was imposed at midnight
Britain recorded 20,530 more coronavirus cases and 224 deaths as SAGE said the R rate has dropped
Pub and restaurant bosses in areas of England going into Tier 3 lockdown have hit out at the Government, claiming the hospitality industry is being 'thrown under a bus' and should be kept open.
Police tonight revealed extraordinary plans to patrol the Anglo-Welsh border to stop families from crossing over for a half-term holiday as Wales is plunged into a two-week 'firebreak' lockdown.
Drivers were seen crossing the border on the A494 at Queensferry and on the A5445 between Chester and Wrexham in a breach of new Covid-19 restrictions preventing motorists from crossing the 160-mile long border.
Officers will prevent caravans sneaking into England from Wales and deter Welsh motorists defying First Minister Mark Drakeford's 'power-mad' orders from making 'non-essential' journeys.
Gloucestershire Police announced an operation covering routes from Wales into the Forest of Dean where officers will stop motorists travelling into England to find out what they are doing.
Drivers will be encouraged to turn around and head back to Wales if officers 'are not satisfied with their explanation', a spokesman said. If they refuse, police will tell forces in Wales so that they can issue a fine.
The First Minister has threatened to use number plate recognition cameras to fine English drivers entering his country, announcing that he will bar entry from English regions with high numbers of Covid-19 cases.
But the Police Federation of England and Wales has revealed that the ban is 'unenforceable', adding that policing which is 'already over-stretched due to the pandemic' would be complicated by the measure.
Some bar owners in Greater Manchester, which went into Tier 3 at 0.01am on Friday, said they were rushing to find a food vendor to avoid them having to shut, while others said they had no choice but to close.
And a pub landlady in Sheffield, which has gone into the highest level tonight, told how she is 'devastated' about the new restrictions being imposed on her industry.
Louise Singleton, landlady of the Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield, said she felt the hospitality industry was being 'thrown under a bus' and 'used as a scapegoat', while other industries are allowed to remain open.
Ms Singleton, whose pub is the only one in the UK to have been named the Campaign for Real Ale's National Pub of the Year two years running, said: 'It's quite appalling really, my first reaction is just panic.
'We still don't know any information, it's just wading through what has become available online to see what assistance may be available to us, looking at our stock, seeing what we can do, what we can get through.'
She added: 'It's very draining. I'm devastated today because I feel like I'm just admitting defeat as a business.'
The landlady, who said she is losing hundreds of pounds each week, said pubs needed more information about what the restrictions mean and what assistance is available.
She said: 'Give us some clear guidelines and communicate. The hardest thing for us is the lack of communication, we're having to make decisions with no, or very little, information. We need someone to actually come and talk to us.'
Ms Singleton, who has run the award-winning pub with partner Josh Jepson since 2018, said she did not believe that a large number of coronavirus cases were being transmitted through the hospitality industry.
She said: 'The test and trace has proven that such a small proportion of cases are coming through pubs, we're being used as a scapegoat.
'It's the easy answer, isn't it? Just shut them down and it looks like they're doing something.
'Industries like supermarkets are being protected and we're being thrown under the bus.'
She said her main concern was the welfare of her seven members of staff, and said that the closure of the pub would have a great effect on her single customers.
She said: 'That's the heartbreaking side of it. People who are living on their own and we are their lifeline, they are going to be feeling it.
'We're not just a pub that sells alcohol, we're a community that looks after each other.'
South Yorkshire will be the latest region placed into tier three coronavirus restrictions as Boris Johnson came under renewed pressure to increase financial help for areas under the toughest curbs.
The region will receive a £41 million package of funding, but Sheffield City Council's leader Julie Dore pleaded with ministers to 'do the right thing' and offer extra support to all Tier 3 areas.
Female revellers posed for photos in Sheffield city centre before the region was plunged into Tier 3 lockdown
Revellers in fancy dress costumes went out in Sheffield before the city was plunged into Tier 3 lockdown at midnight
A group of male revellers posed by a police van on the streets of Sheffield ahead of the Tier 3 lockdown coming into force
Female revellers drunkenly fell to the floor on the streets of Sheffield before the region was plunged into Tier 3 lockdown
Revellers congregated on the streets of Sheffield for a final blow-out before Tier 3 resrictions came into force at midnight
A female revellers parties in central Sheffield with her arms outstretched ahead of Tier 3 restrictions coming into force
The deal with South Yorkshire comes after bitter wrangling over money with Greater Manchester led to the highest level of restrictions being imposed from Whitehall without an agreement.