SOURCE: SKYNEWS- The UK has welcomed in 2021, saying goodbye to a year that for many was the strangest, toughest or even worst in recent memory.
It was ushered in by the chimes of Big Ben – an hour after the nation’s clock marked the end of the Brexit transition period – without any of the thousands who would normally stand in the street below it to watch a dazzling display of fireworks.
All across the country, bar and pubs that 365 days ago would have been full of people singing Auld Lang Syne and celebrating together were empty and silent.
Westminster Bridge was not empty, despite warnings from the authorities to stay away, with the sounds of car horns blaring out as midnight arrived and a handful of people setting off their own fireworks.
In Edinburgh where Hogmanay is one of the most looked-forward to festivals of the year, only small groups of people were seen in the streets typically thronging with revellers.
Earlier, with UK COVID-19 cases reaching their highest ever daily level, one of England’s top doctors had implored people not “add fuel to the fire” by meeting up in “close and large groups” risking “further transmission”.
The government had run ads pleading with the public to “see in the New Year safely at home”.Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked her fellow countryfolk to “mark this New Year responsibly and in line with the restrictions… that means no gatherings, no house parties, no first-footing”.
Although displays in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Liverpool had been cancelled, there were a few in other places ahead of midnight, including fireworks at St James’ Park in Newcastle and a lightshow in Ironbridge, Shropshire.
Celebrities were among those saying goodbye to what Victoria Beckham called a “different year”.