From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, people in England are not to meet with another person socially or undertake any activities with another person, with certain exceptions applicable. Prior to the second national lockdown, the tier system in the UK ruled that no more than 6 people can meet socially, depending on the tier level.
The list of events, after which the organizers had to literally pay up for organizing a soiree or a gathering larger than an allowed number of people in one place, includes:
- A party in a flat in Manchester attended by 50 people, with a DJ playing music, industrial speakers and a buffet. The police called it “a blatant disregard of the rules and for public health.” The organizers received a £10,000 fine - “the maximum penalty for breaching the legislation on large gatherings.”
- Big parties in Salford and Bolton were dispersed by the police beginning of November, a wedding reception and a social gathering of 40 people in a flat respectively. The wedding celebration accommodating around 200 guests, caterers, musicians, sound equipment. According to police officers, revellers had tried to hide the party by putting up 'screens' to stop people being able to see the event form the outside.
- An illegal Halloween party in North East Lincolnshire was dispersed by the police, who called it “reckless” and said it was “clearly pre-planned and had, when we arrived, over 40 people in the house.”
Among other prohibited events and behaviour, “Covid-Positive Parties” at UK universities and British tourists attending mass parties on Mediterranean islands during the summer.
£10,000 FPN Reinstated After Short Break
Looking ahead, the countdown to Christmas has begun for many in the UK and with it come the worries about not being able to spend it with extended family and friends.
While the UK still awaits the government decision on social gathering rules this holiday season, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has had its own discussions with Downing Street.
NPCC Officials said that they will resume issuing £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for breaches of Coronavirus Regulations. The update follows a previously issued order to stop officers handing out the fines to Covid rule-breakers.
— National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) (@PoliceChiefs) November 17, 2020
Officers issuing FNPs and ensuring they are paid have stumbled upon the problem of people being unable to pay the full amount and courts reportedly deciding on different sums based on an individual’s ability to pay.
“People found to be in breach of the regulations relating to gatherings of over 30 people will be made fully aware of their options when faced with a £10,000 FPN (fixed penalty notice), to ensure fairness,” the NPCC said in a fresh statement.
Britain remains in its second national lockdown until 2 December, after which it may exit it or remain under current restrictions based on the spread of Covid-19 and the government assessment of the risk levels.