Newcastle’s Bigg Market is the party hub of a party city. To imagine what it looks like on a Friday night, add three parts William Hogarth’s Beer Street, which depicts idyllic boozy bonhomie that any city would envy, to one part Hieronymus Bosch hellscape. It is a heady cocktail, beloved by locals and tourists. “Noisy, busy and happy” is how one of the local street pastors, who through volunteering to assist the drunk and vulnerable sees the worst and best of Bigg Market, describes a typical night.
At 10pm on Friday, the party stopped. The North East is experiencing a particularly sharp upswing in Covid-19 cases, and the Government has imposed various restrictions in response. Among those restrictions is the rule that pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars must close by 10pm – effectively a curfew.
As dusk turned to dark on the curfew’s first night, there were as many police in the historic stepped marketplace as there were members of the public. The evening would usually be revving up at this point, with bar-hoppers chatting and laughing over the thumping music emanating from basement dancefloors. Tonight the packs of strutting boys and clattering girls were all but absent. Most of the few people on the street were couples on quiet evenings out.
The place would usually be “rammed”, said Dan Walker, 27, who had just been to a comedy show with his girlfriend, 28-year-old Kloe Wilson. Every member of the audience had had to wear face shields. The strange emptiness of Bigg Market, he said, was “the way it should be for the situation that we’re in.”
Tom Ough has more
Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-news-local-national-lockdown-lancashire-second-wave/