Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced a new £800 fine for those who flout the current lockdown rules to attend house parties.
The fine will be handed to individuals attending illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in private homes, with each additional offence doubling to a maximum level of £6,400.
Patel announced the move during tonight’s Downing Street press conference (January 21), which she led alongside the chair of the National Police Chiefs Council Martin Hewitt.
While household mixing is banned in the UK, the Home Secretary said that “there is still a small minority who refuse to do the right thing”.
“Such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health,” Patel said. “Not only to those in attendance, but also to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.”
We’re introducing a new £800 fine for those attending ????? ???????.
This will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £6,400.
At this crucial time, please stay home.
Protect the NHS. Save lives. pic.twitter.com/Y4zNBhmZAz
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) January 21, 2021
Hewitt said rule-breaking of this kind was “dangerous, irresponsible and totally unacceptable” and reiterated the issues with being in close contact with others indoors, which “will allow the virus to spread”.
“And anyone who organises [a house party] will be given a fixed penalty notice and so will those who choose to attend,” he explained. “This is about saving lives.”
1,290 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the latest 24-hour period, according to government figures. A further 37,892 COVID cases have also been reported.
Over the summer, the government imposed a fine for those who organise and attend illegal raves in England. The police can fine organisers of such gatherings of more than 30 people up to £10,000, while attendees can face paying out £100 each.