Revellers are set to embark on a frantic fortnight of boozing – with two Mad Fridays.
Hospitals are preparing to treat drunken partygoers who overdo it after being denied festive fun last year.
The notorious Mad Friday knees-ups – which sees work-do revellers mingling with pals on the razzle – stretch 999 services to the limit. And because Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, Brits can look forward to double the fun on December 17 and 24.
Health bosses fear the first monster drinking session will be the trigger for the booze-lashed Christmas holiday, with ale flowing right up until everyone turns over a new leaf on January 1.
Paramedics are bracing themselves for chaos.
Up to 900 alcohol-related incidents are expected in London alone.
Extra police will be patrolling towns and cities, with special Travelsafe units manning the bus network to discourage crime and antisocial behaviour ensuring revellers in Greater Manchester get home safely.
Network Rail, British Transport Police and Rail Safety Standards Board have launched an alcohol awareness campaign to remind people to stay safe.
And the Government’s anti-drink-drive campaign THINK! is targeting young men.
The campaign states: “Male drivers aged 17-24 are over-represented in drink-drive related road casualties. They’re also less likely than the wider population to perceive it as risky or unacceptable.
“The campaign encourages mates to have each other’s backs, with the message that ‘a mate doesn’t let a mate drink-drive.”
However, reports say there is a chance that the pandemic may ruin Christmas celebrations for the ‘next five years’ until it finally settles into an endemic state, a government advising body has warned in a glum prediction.
To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.
SPI-M-O, a government advising body, issued the stark warning in a meeting on November 24.
The group said: “It will take a long time for the virus to settle to its endemic state.
“The path to endemicity will be critically dependent on the rate of the waning of immunity and chosen policies on vaccination and boosting.
“SARS-CoV-2 will continue to be a threat to health system function and require active management, of which vaccination and surveillance are key, for at least the next five years.”