ORGANISERS of a recent party in north London are facing the prospect of a £10,000 fine after police broke up a gathering involving about 400 people in Stamford Hill who were attending a wedding in defiance of coronavirus lockdown rules.
On 4 January Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown for all of England and under these rules, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to a maximum of six people. However, in defiance of the regulations, a wedding was organised at Yesoday Hatorah Girls Senior School in Stamford Hill, shortly after 9pm last night with as many as 400 people in attendance.
To keep the party, secret, windows had been covered and many people left as the police arrived but the Metropolitan Police revealed it uncovered clear evidence of a wedding having taken place. Clamping down on the breach, the organiser has been reported for the consideration of a £10,000 fine and five attendees were issued with £200 fines each.
Detective chief superintendent Marcus Barnett, said: ‘This was a completely unacceptable breach of the law, which is very clearly in place to save lives and protect the National Health Service (NHS). An NHS that is under considerable pressure at a time when Covid-19 has killed nearly 100,000 people.
‘This is a deadly and very dangerous disease, we can all see that and we must act responsibly. People across the country are making sacrifices by cancelling or postponing weddings and other celebrations and there is no excuse for this type of behaviour. My officers are working tirelessly with the community and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action if that is required to keep people safe.”
Philip Glanville the mayor of Hackney, added: “It’s a deeply disturbing incident at a time when in Hackney we have seen the largest number of deaths reported since last April. Unfortunately, similar events have taken place even at this venue before and we need to be really clear how unacceptable it is.”
Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School is Orthodox Jewish and its principal Rabbi Avrahom Pinter died in April after contracting Covid-19. It has not been confirmed, however, if the party wedding was a Jewish one.
A Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School spokesperson said: ‘We are absolutely horrified about last night’s event and condemn it in the strongest possible terms. We lease our hall to an external organisation which manages all lettings and as such, we had no knowledge that the wedding was taking place.
“We have terminated the agreement with immediate effect and we are investigating how this shocking breach has happened and have no plans to re-lease the premises to any third party. We deplore the actions of anyone in any community breaking the law and risking people’s lives in this.”
Yesterday, home secretary Priti Patel announced that a new £800 fine will be handed to rule-breakers caught at house parties during the lockdown. England is currently in a strict national lockdown where the mixing of different households inside is forbidden and people are only allowed to leave their homes for a limited number of reasons.
London mayor Sadiq Khan, said that 12,000 Londoners have now died from Covid-19. Police are now handing out 66 times more fines in a crackdown on rule-breakers but have been criticised for their hardline approach.