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City clubbers enjoy a Freedom to party.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON, ELIF GULMEN, SHANE JARVIS and MAX CHANNON Reporter ian.johnson@reachplc.com

REVELLERS in Newcastle were very quick off the mark to welcome in the so-called 'Freedom Day' in England just after midnight on Sunday as they celebrated the return of normality and the dropping of the remaining coronavirus restrictions subject to laws.

Despite the continued rise of Covid rates across the North East, the legal requirement of wearing face masks was lifted as Sunday passed into Monday and nightclubs were able to re-open.

There were celebratory scenes in Newcastle as nightspots marked the relaxation of lockdown rules in England.

The nightlife industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with clubs having been forced to remain closed since March 2020.

Now their reopening will bring an economic boost to the area.

Many events postponed during the pandemic, including birthday parties, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations and stag and hen nights, are already being planned.

The rule of six limit and table service will be scrapped inside bars and restaurants.

However, there are many people who still feel uncertain about attending large-scale social gatherings.

Even the Prime Minister, who first announced the revised date of Freedom Day, urged the public to remain cautious despite putting his faith in vaccines to protect the country.

Public health officials are continuing to encourage people to carry on wearing face masks and not to abandon hygiene measures such as regular hand washing.

Public Health England data shows cases continue to rise in South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, County Durham, Sunderland and Northumberland.

South Tyneside had the highest case rate in the region, recording 1,311 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to July 12.

Sunderland has the secondhighest rate at 987 followed by Gateshead at 954 and Newcastle at 864.

Prof Eugene Milne, Newcastle's public health director, told the city council's health scrutiny committee: "We would very much encourage people at this stage, given our rates of infection, to voluntarily continue wearing face coverings."

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Author:IAN JOHNSON, ELIF GULMEN, SHANE JARVIS and MAX CHANNON Reporter ian.johnson@reachplc.com
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 20, 2021
Words:336
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