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Thu, 24 September 2020

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PM condemns illegal ravers for 'endangering lives' as nightclubs make plea for financial help

PM condemns illegal ravers for 'endangering lives' as nightclubs make plea for financial help

Illegal ravers face fines of up to £10,000 (Credit: PA)

3 min read

Boris Johnson has slammed people attending illegal raves for "endangering themselves and others" amid pleas for help from nightclubs forced to remain closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

It comes as ministers revealed those organising such gatherings could face police fines of up to £10,000 in England.

“Most people across the country, the vast majority of people across the country are following the rules and are doing their bit to control the virus," the PM's official spokesperson said on Monday.

“But we must remain focused and we can’t be complacent. The small proportion of people who aren’t are not only endangering themselves but they are endangering others, including their close family and friends.”

Under current laws, those who attend illegal gatherings and those who do not wear face coverings where it is mandatory can be given a £100 fine, doubling on each offence up to £3,200.

Police across the country have reported disrupting illegal meetings of up to 300 people, with officers in Birmingham dispersing more than 70 events of varying sizes in a single night.

The PM's spokesperson added: “We’ve been clear these gatherings are dangerous and those who organising them are showing a blatant disregard for the safety of others and we would encourage anybody thinking of going to one not to.”

Nightclub owners, meanwhile, have pleaded to be allowed to reopen their venues, proposing bouncer patrols, temperature checks and mandatory face coverings to help prevent transmission of the virus among punters. 

The industry has warned of imminent “financial armageddon”, with the potential loss of 750,000 jobs, unless the government provides better financial support or greater certainty on the reopening of the nighttime industry.

But Downing Street said: “We’ve been clear throughout the pandemic that we will allow for easements based on scientific evidence and based on the transmission of the virus. And we’ve been clear of the areas that are more high risk than others.

"We will continue that work. We eased... some of the rules on businesses not too long ago, for ice rinks and bowling alleys, and we will keep that under continuous review.”

Nightclubs are still considered high-risk in terms of the spread of coronavirus, but ministers have promised they will "allow for easements where possible".

"We will keep it under review and if there is any change we will announce them in due course," the PM's spokesman said.

Asked if the industry would be offered any additional support, with the government's furlough scheme set to end in just over two months, they added: “The Treasury and the Chancellor set out support packages which I’m sure lots of these sort of high-risk areas will have received. Again we’ll keep that under continuous review, but as I say, the Chancellor has set out the support packages available to businesses.”

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