A YEAR ago tonight, Newport was much quieter than in previous years, due to coronavirus-enforced lockdown measures.

New Year’s Eve in 2021/22 was a muted affair in the city.

It was a tale of two cities either side of the Severn last year, as Wales and England’s approaches to the coronavirus pandemic led to very different scenes on New Year’s Eve.

Revellers in Newport were few and far between – with some pub owners even taking the decision to not open at all, perhaps in anticipation of lower footfall.

That is because the Welsh response to the wave of the Omicron variant at the time had been to take new, targeted measures against businesses, including hospitality.

A year on, and the city doesn’t seem to have quite got back to pre-pandemic levels of revelry.

The streets were largely empty this evening.

However, this may have been down to the grim weather, as well as factors such as the cost of living crisis.

Pubs and bars in the city centre were serving patrons, but there was not the buzz or bustle there had been in the city pre-coronavirus on New Year’s Eve.

At time of writing, getting a table in a city centre pub should not prove too difficult. 

However, the night is still young and many may wait until after the Saturday shift has concluded to make their way into town.

One man, who did not want to be named, said that he was “having a quiet one this year”.

He said that he’d had “quiet ones” the last few years due to coronavirus, but that “the change of pace had been nice, I might do this every year now”.

Staff in Tiny Rebel in Newport city centre said they expected it to get busier later on.

There would also be live music at the bar.

Mary White was coming out of a city centre pub when she spoke to the Argus.

“It’s dead in there,” she said.

“I was going to have New Year’s in Newport as I’m from just up the road, but I think I’ll be on the next train to Cardiff instead.

“I don’t think the weather has helped, but I can’t stay in there all night.”

This was echoed by a group of women near the railway station.

They said they had decided to look for a taxi to the capital after being slightly disheartened by the atmosphere in Newport.