At the end of November, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) published a survey suggesting that 75.6% of U.K. bars and nightclubs wouldn’t survive past Christmas with the current COVID-19 restrictions in place. They have now shared another projection for the end of 2020. The organization estimates that guidances imposed to curb the pandemic will lead to 5,000 illegal New Years parties being organized around the country.
“There is a growing concern that New Year’s Eve is going to culminate in social unrest and will see a substantial number of illegal parties and mass gatherings following the closure of businesses at 11:00 PM, with a real risk of overwhelming the police and emergency services,” said NTIA CEO Michael Kill in a statement. “We are estimating that the U.K. will be witness to over 5,000 illegal parties across New Years Eve weekend.”
On Thursday, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham suggested that the restrictions could therefore backfire. Without bars and nightclubs open, he said, people might choose to gather in their homes, causing another wave of infections.
“The closure of hospitality venues in Tier 3, combined with the 11:00 pm curfew elsewhere only serves to encourage house parties and outdoor gatherings, and it’s inevitable we will see an increase of these on New Years Eve,” said Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord. “I urge all those considering hosting or attending a gathering to think about those around them who may be vulnerable to COVID-19, and to put their health and safety first.”
Last week, the U.K. became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech‘s COVID-19 vaccine for public use – although it’s estimated that they will not be distributed to the majority of the population for several months.
Image credit: Alexander Popov