A small protest against new restrictions preventing people from different homes from meeting indoors took place in Soho, central London on Friday evening with revelers in handcuffs.Police dispersed groups of drinkers after they spilled out of bars after the 10 p.m. curfew and many continued to gather on the streets as the capital moved to level 2 of the coronavirus lockdown in midnight.
The new measures, aimed at reducing the infection rate, mean that people from separated households in London will no longer be allowed to meet indoors in pubs, bars or restaurants.
A sign saying, “Shut up, fascist conservatives, no one tells me what time to go to bed” was held aloft as a handful of protesters chanted “We are united.” People protested angrily to the police.
Waqas Sadiq, a bouncer at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Frith Street, Soho, said the new rules had made many people miserable. “A lot of people are talking about it. There will be a very bad impact from next week on all businesses, especially in the West End, ”he said.
“In our establishment, we had to call all the people who have already booked, the people who don’t live at the same address, and tell them, and maybe they will cancel their tickets… a lot of people are losing their jobs and people have no money right now. ”
One party animal told a reporter, “I think that’s why it’s probably so busy tonight, because everyone is taking this last opportunity to be free.
A member of a group of speed-dating women said: “I’m not worried about Covid. My mother had it, I didn’t catch it. I tested yesterday I was negative so I’m fine. Our university tests us every week.
Another suggested that the increase in testing was behind the rise in positive cases, adding: “Voting for Boris Johnson was the worst decision of my life.”
Piers Corbyn, who had previously been arrested and fined £ 10,000 for breaking coronavirus regulations, arrived later to show his support and shake hands with people.
“We are here to drink against the curfew,” said the brother of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn. “Oppose lockdowns, oppose job losses caused by lockdowns, oppose it all. It should all be lifted now. ”
Speaking to journalists, he falsely claimed there was “nothing like” a coronavirus: “There are other viruses but there is no magical and dangerous Covid virus.”
The Metropolitan Police said they would take stronger action against those who flout the regulations.
“The communities of London can therefore expect to see an increase in our efforts to deal with the most willful, harmful and egregious breaches of regulation,” said Assistant Deputy Commissioner Matt Twist, Head of Met for Covid-19. The force has been contacted for further comment.
There were also bizarre scenes in Soho on the first night of the 10 p.m. curfew last month, with revelers questioning the apparent focus on controlling the spread of the coronavirus at the expense of addressing health concerns. mental health and efforts to reduce deaths from other causes.