A warning has been issued to those planning on hitting the town for a Mad Friday night out in Manchester city centre.
Mad Friday – the nickname given to the last Friday in December before Christmas eve – is always known as the most popular night for end-of-year Christmas parties, which inevitably makes it one of the busiest nights of the year in Manchester city centre, and for ambulances and the police service too.
But this year, just the same as last, things are set to look a lot different.
This year’s Mad Friday comes the day after the UK recorded the highest number of new COVID cases since the start of the pandemic at 88,376.
It too comes after the UK government has now introduced all ‘Plan B’ measures in England in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, and it also comes amid an ongoing conversation around the hardships once again being faced by the hospitality sector and the question of “where is the Chancellor?”, as pubs and restaurants in Greater Manchester and right across the UK are hit by a surge of cancelled bookings in the lead-up to and at Christmas.
Yet, despite all of this, the message from one Councillor to clubbers and partygoers heading to Manchester city centre tonight couldn’t be clearer.
Everyone has to remain “cautious”.
Cllr Pat Karney – city centre spokesperson at Manchester City Council – told the MEN that people need to “be their own public health service” in the fight against the new Omicron variant, adding that: “For young people, Mad Friday is a big night out in the city, but people need to take into account that they will then probably be seeing family and older family members over Christmas.
“People will have a great time but must bear in mind who they will be spending time with over Christmas.
“We are all confused by the guidance but we need to be our own Public Health Service and look after ourselves and follow the guidance as best we can,” he concluded.
This year’s Mad Friday also comes two days after NHS COVID passes / or a proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test have been introduced for entry to nightclubs, unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people in England.
Cllr Pat Karney said that although the passes are “bound to cause problems”, he believes it is worth it to “protect the health of the country”.
The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has also urged a simple message to revellers: “Try to avoid needing us,” as they also anticipate tonight and this weekend to be “much busier than 2020”.
Ged Blezard – Director of Operations at NWAS – said: “We have already experienced a very challenging year with more people calling 999 than ever and our staff have been working exceptionally hard. However, the festive period traditionally brings with it an increase in a certain type of 999 call as people can get carried away while celebrating the time of year.
“While we want people to enjoy themselves, we want to use this opportunity to ask the public not to add any unnecessary extra burden on the service by behaving irresponsibly or treating our staff with disrespect if they are called to help.”
“Remember, 999 is for life-threatening incidents and emergencies only,” he concluded.
Greater Manchester Police also confirmed that force will be continuing its high visibility patrols across the city tonight and over this weekend.
“We expect people to drink and act responsibly while enjoying their night – remembering to plan their journeys home in advance and not to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol above the legal limit,” a spokesperson told the MEN.
Featured Image – Factory Manchester
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”