Police have stormed a wedding reception and shut it down after the owner of the venue and guests breached coronavirus rules.
Officers were called to the Tudor Rose venue in west London on Tuesday after a wedding reception broke rules to allow more than 100 revellers to attend.
Police said upon arriving on scene it was clear a high number of people crowded into the venue to celebrate a wedding, in what was a clear breach of rules.
“As officers walked through the venue, they saw no clear evidence that guests were maintaining social distancing, nor were guests taking any reasonable steps to protect others and prevent transmitting the virus,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“Under current regulations, weddings are permitted, however, guest numbers are limited to 15 persons. Likewise, the venue must adhere to the strict Covid Secure guidelines in order to keep people safe.
“In clear breach of these regulations, officers dispersed a large number of the guests to ensure numbers complied with the law.”
As a result of the breach, police fined the owner of the venue £10,000 ($18,000).
“This was a dangerous and foolish breach of the regulations, which have been designed specifically to keep people safe from transmitting a deadly virus,” BCU Commander Chief Superintendent Peter Gardner said.
“Restrictions of large gatherings, such as weddings, have been in place for months and quite frankly there can be no excuse for this flagrant violation of the law.
“There was clearly no attempt by the venue owner to enforce the regulations or keep their patrons safe – it is for this reason we have reported them for a £10,000 fine.
“Everyone has a responsibility to keep themselves, and their families, safe from coronavirus. As cases of coronavirus rise across London, officers throughout the Met will be redoubling our efforts to clamp down on those individuals and businesses who breach the regulations and put themselves, and others at risk.”
Virus ‘spreading in every corner’ of London
Stricter restrictions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus are to apply in London from the weekend, the mayor of the British capital says.
On Thursday Sadiq Khan said the virus was “spreading rapidly in every corner of our city” as new restrictions coming into effect ban millions of people from meeting people from other households indoors.
The move applies for homes as well as venues like pubs and restaurants.
"Nobody wants to see more restrictions but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners' lives by myself, London council leaders and by ministers," Khan said.
Londoners were also advised to avoid public transport and, if possible, reduce the number of journeys they make.
"I must warn Londoners that we've got a difficult winter ahead," Khan said.
Outdoor meetings with up to six people are still allowed.
Several London boroughs have in recent days exceeded the threshold of 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
With the new measures, the capital has moved to the second highest level in England's three-tier warning system alongside other regions such as York and Essex, Health Minister Matt Hancock told parliament on Thursday.
"We must take firm and balanced decisions to keep this virus under control," Hancock said.
"Things will get worse before they get better but I know that there are brighter skies and calmer seas ahead," the minister added.
Khan – like opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer and several health advisers – has called for a renewed country-wide lockdown to contain the pandemic more effectively.
The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, has so far stuck to his regional three-tier system.
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