olice warned Londoners not to hold large Halloween parties this weekend in breach of Covid regulations, amid City Hall fears that London will “highly likely” be moved into Tier 3 within weeks if the Government does not bring in a circuit breaker.
The Met is deploying additional officers to clamp down on breaches of Tier 2 regulations and will target the most dangerous or flagrant of breaches which risk endangering public health.
Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for Covid-19, said: “In those areas where transmission rate is at its highest, we will be doing our part to help shut down reckless breaches.
“I know the vast majority of Londoners are sticking to the rules but there is a small minority who have a disregard for the health of our communities and it is those individuals who we will be targeting with our patrols.
“Halloween is going to be different this year, with parties unable to go ahead as normal.
“As much as the restrictions may seem disheartening, we want to remind people that they are in place for an important reason, to keep everyone safe.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan fears Tier 3 may then lead to “a longer lockdown” which would be the “worst possible outcome” for public health and the economy. A decision point could come on November 14 when London’s Tier 2 status will be reviewed.
Three boroughs, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kingston have gone above an infection rate of 200 new cases per week per 100,000 population.
However, health sources suggested that it is likely that many more boroughs would have to breach this level, and by a significant amount, before a move into Tier 3 for the whole city. Any change would also depend on how well the NHS in the capital is coping with more Covid-19 patients and the degree to which the virus was spreading to older age groups.
The Government was today sticking to its three-tier system to try to limit the damage to jobs and businesses, while not ruling out a new Covid-19 clampdown across a large part, if not all, of the country if needed, to combat the virus.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today appealed for “full compliance” with social distancing rules to avoid a “blanket” national lockdown.
Germany, France and other European countries are already imposing new national restrictions, of varying degrees of severity.
Mr Khan also urged all Londoners to abide by social distancing rules to avoid Tier 3 measures, which include a ban on meeting people outside your household or bubble indoors, in your garden and many other public spaces. Pubs, other parts of the hospitality sector and other businesses could also be hit with further restrictions.
The looming possibility of London being moved into Tier 3 means the city is facing a stricter clampdown either through the tier system or a “circuit breaker” national lockdown.
A City Hall source said: “If the Government does not bring in a circuit breaker, it’s highly likely that Tier 3 restrictions will be brought to London in the coming weeks, and then a longer lockdown might well be needed. This would be worst possible outcome both for public health and our economy. “
The Mayor urges Londoners to continue following the restrictions and public health guidance and do all they can to protect each other and help reduce the spread of the virus.”
There have been tentative signs that the rise in cases in London may have been easing up but the pandemic is still spreading and there is speculation that it could be put into Tier 3 within two weeks.
Whitehall health sources said there was nothing imminent about a shift into the higher tier. Putting the whole of the capital into Tier 3 would inevitably spark a fresh debate over whether boroughs with lower levels of the virus should be excluded.