Liverpool mayor says images of crowded streets hours before new COVID-19 measures 'shame our city'

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By Euronews
The 'rave' in Liverpool took place while bars and pubs closed on Tuesday evening.
The 'rave' in Liverpool took place while bars and pubs closed on Tuesday evening.   -  Copyright  HANNAH LACY - AP // Peter Byrne/PA via AP

Police were forced to disperse large crowds in Liverpool just hours before new COVID-19 restrictions came into force on Wednesday.

Videos on social media showed people dancing and surrounding a police car in the city's Concert Square as bars and pubs closed around 22:00 local time.

Liverpool City Region is the only area in England categorised in the top tier of the UK government's new system for COVID-19 alerts.

Merseyside Police said the crowds were dispersed quickly on Tuesday night, while Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson tweeted that the images "shame our city".

"Our Health Service is creaking, 300 in hospital and 30 people dead in [a] week. Ignoring these facts is why we are in Tier 3 measures."

As an area of "very high" risk, pubs and bars in Liverpool will be closed unless they are serving substantial meals, while gyms, leisure centres, betting shops and casinos are also shut.

'Terrible news'

Paul Askew, chef and co-chair of the Liverpool Hospitality Association said Monday's announcement of new restrictions for the city was "terrible news" for the hospitality industry.

"We all opened on July 4 after the full lockdown, looking forward to getting the economy moving again in our city."

"Our capacity and ability to earn revenue is gradually being eroded further and further."

Askew's restaurant is one of those in Liverpool that will stay open to serve meals but he has urged the UK government to introduce a stronger support package to support businesses.

"If you look in our restaurant diary now for bookings, it's like Valentine's Day every day, all tables of two people", he told Euronews.

"If we do stay open, we feel like we are on a knife-edge in turns of viability".

Watch the full interview with Paul Askew on Good Morning Europe in the player above.