England began its new three-tier system for its coronavirus response on Wednesday, with the Liverpool region entering the “very high” alert level. New restrictions in the city, in England’s northwest, include a ban on meeting those from different households indoors and the closure of pubs and bars.
As bars closed at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, the last hurrah before the new measures, patrons poured out onto the street in Liverpool’s Concert Square. Videos posted to social media showed crowds of mostly young people packed together, embracing and dancing in the street, even as area hospitals have braced in recent days for a new wave of coronavirus admissions. The police dispersed the crowd as the scene grew increasingly chaotic, and videos showed a group rushing a police car.
Liverpool’s five members of Parliament have been highly critical of the government’s decision to impose new restrictions on their region, warning in an open letter that the measures mean Liverpool “risks being dragged back to the 1980s” without financial support and called for a broader national lockdown.
The measures come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain faces criticism for ignoring scientific advice for a brief nationwide lockdown — saying it would come at too high a cost — and instead implementing the new three-tier system.