Party-goers hit the bars in Wales for last night out before pubs banned from selling booze in Covid crackdown

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PARTY-GOERS hit bars in Wales for a last night out before pubs are banned from selling booze in a Covid crackdown. 

Punters flocked to streets across Wales to enjoy a final festive nightcap before tough curbs are slapped on boozers today. 

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Matthew Horwood

Party-goers enjoyed a final night out on the tiles in Cardiff before tough new booze restrictions hit Wales [/caption]

Robert Melen

Friends celebrated a final festive night together before boozers are forced to shut at 6pm [/caption]

Matthew Horwood

Young women ventured out in high heels and dresses despite the chilly December weather[/caption]

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close at 6pm daily from today in Wales – and they will be banned from selling booze.

In Swansea, youngsters ventured out in high heels and dresses – despite the chilly December weather – to make the most of their freedom before the ban. 

There was a strong police presence in Swansea to ensure social distancing remained in place across the city. 

Friends were also seen hugging outside pubs with masks tucked under their chins – and in Cardiff, groups huddled together in thick winter coats on outside tables. 

Just weeks after Wales’ 17-day long “firebreak” lockdown, the tough new curbs will see pubs, cafes and restaurants close doors at 6pm with a complete ban on selling booze.

Hospitality venues will still be allowed to sell takeaways after 6pm. 

Cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos and skating rinks are also forced to shut in Wales in a bid to curb the virus.

The move is expected to hit businesses hard just before the Christmas rush. 

Matthew Horwood

The new restrictions will ban all pubs, bars and restaurants from selling alcohol[/caption]

Matthew Horwood

Punters wrapped up in winter coats and shared a bottle at outside tables [/caption]

Robert Melen

Police in Swansea ensured social distanced stayed in place [/caption]

Matthew Horwood

A Cardiff punter tucks into a final beer[/caption]

Robert Melen

Friends hug outside a pub in Swansea [/caption]

Minister Mark Drakeford acknowledged the latest restrictions will hamper Christmas sales but said the Covid facts are “stark”. 

Mr Drakeford said: “Unfortunately, the virus is moving incredibly quickly across Wales and is eroding the gains we made during the firebreak period.

“This virus – and this pandemic – continues to be full of unpleasant surprises.

“It thrives on our normal human behaviour and all those places and opportunities where we come together.”

Mr Drakeford added: “I recognise just how hard the hospitality and (leisure) sectors have worked to comply with the regulations.

“I know the new restrictions will be difficult, coming as they do at one of the busiest times of the year.”

But he warned: “We continue to face a virus that is moving incredibly quickly across Wales, and it is a virus that will exploit every opportunity when we spend time with one another.”

There is already a 10pm curfew on buying alcohol in supermarkets or off-licences.

Matthew Horwood

The tough new curbs come just weeks after Wales’ “firebreak” lockdown[/caption]

Matthew Horwood

Friends toasted a last night together in Cardiff city centre[/caption]

Matthew Horwood

The draconian rules are expected to hit the hospitality sector just before the Christmas rushj[/caption]

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