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Newcastle’s Bigg Market is the celebration hub of a celebration city. To envision what it looks like on a Friday night, include three parts William Hogarth’s Beer Street, which portrays idyllic boozy bonhomie that any city would envy, to one part Hieronymus Bosch hellscape. It is a heady mixed drink, precious by locals and travelers. “Noisy, busy and delighted” is how among the local street pastors, who through volunteering to assist the intoxicated and vulnerable sees the worst and best of Bigg Market, explains a typical night.At 10pm on

Friday, the party stopped. The North East is experiencing an especially sharp increase in Covid-19 cases, and the Federal government has actually enforced numerous constraints in action. Amongst those limitations is the guideline that pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars need to close by 10pm– successfully a curfew.As dusk turned to dark on the curfew’s first night, there were as many police in the historical stepped marketplace as there were members of the general public. The evening would usually be accelerating at this point, with bar-hoppers chatting and chuckling over the thumping music emanating from basement dancefloors. Tonight the packs of strutting boys and clattering ladies were all but missing. The majority of the couple of individuals on the street were couples on peaceful evenings out.The place would normally be” rammed “, said Dan Walker, 27, who had just been

to a funny program with his sweetheart, 28-year-old Kloe Wilson. Every member of the audience had needed to wear face shields. The weird emptiness of Bigg Market, he said, was “the way it must be for the situation that we remain in.”Tom Ough has more here.

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