evellers took to the streets of London for a final night out before the capital moved into the highest level of restrictions.
Business leaders have warned that the curbs will have a devastating impact on the capital’s nightlife, with theatres forced to shut and pubs and restaurants closed apart from takeaway and delivery services.
With Christmas up in the air, and no definite end in sight to the new restrictions, Londoners filled bars and restaurants around the capital.
People could be seen dancing on the streets of Soho.
Some even hugged each other and smiled for the camera.
Others stood outside holding their drinks – despite the cold weather.
The announcement moves almost 10.8 million people into Tier 3, with 61 per cent of England’s population now under the toughest restrictions.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the decision was “incredibly disappointing” for businesses but urged the capital’s residents to follow the rules.
He added: “The worst thing for London’s businesses and our economy would be yet another full lockdown in the new year.”
Theatres have lamented the new restrictions, with major industry figures including Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh warning of the dire impact closures will have on an already ailing sector.
Large queues of customers gathered outside the London Palladium on Tuesday, where the pantomime Pantoland was performed for the final time before Tier 3 restrictions were implemented as a result of soaring case rates.
There were similar scenes at the Sondheim Theatre, where a production of Les Miserables returned to the stage for the first time in almost nine months at the start of December only to be forced to close again.
Sir Cameron criticised the Government’s decision to move London into Tier 3, describing it as “devastating”, adding it “smacks of panic”.
Lord Lloyd Webber, who owns the London Palladium, said the move seems “arbitrary and unfair” and questioned why theatre performances are being banned while shopping is allowed to continue.