A "large crowd" had to be dispersed from Liverpool city centre after pubs and bars closed last night, just hours before the City Region was placed on the highest level Covid restrictions.
Footage posted on social media showed dozens of people dancing in the Concert Square area - one of the city's busiest nightlife spots.
Merseyside Police said officers were deployed to the area immediately and a large crowd was "dispersed quickly and safely."
All businesses in the area were closed and the incident stood down. Chief Superintendent Peter Costello said:
While we understand how the new rules which are due to be implemented are frustrating for some, we would continue to advise everyone to abide by them – including keeping social distancing – for the safety of everyone.
From Wednesday, Liverpool and the neighbouring five boroughs which make up the city region will be under Tier 3 coronavirus measures, which include the closure of bars, pubs which do not serve meals, gyms, betting shops and casinos.
City centre councillor Nick Small wrote on Twitter: "Idiots putting themselves, their friends, families and everyone else at risk, destroying jobs and our hospitality sector while they do it."
Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke posted a video on Twitter yesterday evening asking people to "pull together to protect each other".
Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health and social care at Liverpool City Council, said intensive care capacity in the city was over 90% full, with Covid-19 patients making up an increasing proportion of patients.
Our intensive, critical care beds are filling up very fast. The most recent figures I've seen suggest they are over 90% full and our acute hospital trusts have occupancy levels of Covid-positive patients of over 250. "At the current rate of increase, we would expect Liverpool to surpass the peak of the first wave probably within the next seven to 10 days.
On Monday, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Warburton told staff in a memo that it had reached a "critical point".
He said the trust was scaling back planned procedures, adding it was "taking a phased approach to reducing our elective programme, while exploring options with other providers to maintain some of this work in alternative locations".