Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Fears of 'big blow out parties' over weekend before new rules come into force

There are fears of huge parties across London, Newcastle and Cardiff this weekend as a ‘final blow out’ before new rules are put in place on Monday.

Police officers claim the country will resemble ‘the last days of Rome’ on Friday and Saturday night as Brits take their last chance to socialise in larger groups

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced ‘the rule of six’ will come into force next week, meaning it will be illegal to socialise in groups larger than six people in England and police can slap those breaking the rules with £100 fines.

One officer, based in the north east of England, told the Telegraph: ‘We are worried this weekend is going to be like the last days of Rome. 

‘If people think they are not going to be allowed to go out and enjoy themselves for the next few months, they are going to go crazy and we will be left picking up the pieces.’

A senior officer said they were not sure if police had the resources to meet the challenge of thousands of people ignoring restrictions this weekend. 

Chairperson of the Police Federation in West Yorkshire, Brian Booth, said officers were ‘flat out again doing the everyday things such as dealing with stabbings, shootings, drug dealers, missing people etc’. 

‘If we are going to be asked to focus on enforcement, something else will have to give,’ he added.

There are concerns London, Newcastle and Cardiff will be hotspots for pre-lockdown parties.

Sold out events across the capital taking place this weekend include a bottomless brunch in the ballpit bar Ballie Ballerson in Soho.

Also sold out are the popular ‘Sip n Stroke’ parties in Shoreditch, brunch rooftop parties at Brixton’s Prince of Wales, and ‘London’s original boat party’ cruise along the Thames.

It comes after health secretary Matt Hancock has in recent days blamed young people for a rapid rise in cases, urging them ‘don’t kill your gran’ while warning the majority of those aged 17 to 21 would be asymptomatic.

As a result the Government has cracked down on coronavirus restrictions, making gatherings of more than six people illegal in England from Monday.

Households and support bubbles of more than six people will be exempt from the restrictions, while weddings and funerals will be allowed to go ahead with no more than 30 people in attendance.

Babies and children will also be counted among the people allowed at a gathering.

Mr Johnson also stated that places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues are allowed to have more than six people inside the building in total, but each individual group must be no larger than six.

He emphasised that in order to ‘beat the virus’, everyone should be limiting their social contact with other households ‘as much as possible’.

This will ‘simplify and strengthen’ the rules for everyone to follow and help police officers to enforce the restrictions, the PM added.

But communities have expressed confusion across the UK as the devolved nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have all applied the rules slightly differently.

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