Millions of people are expected to attend illegal raves over the new year period, it has been warned.
New research from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says they expect more than 5,000 unlawful parties to take place over between December 31 and January 3, despite continued coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The NTIA says there is a high risk of “millions of people converging across the UK” over the traditional party season, saying that the problem is worsened by the closure of nightclubs that “would normally manage huge crowds of people through the new year’s celebrations”.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill commented: “There is a growing concern from the Industry that the Government has underestimated the impact of restrictions on New Years Eve, which will see a substantial number of illegal parties and mass gatherings, culminating in social unrest following the closure of Night Time Economy & Hospitality businesses, with a real risk of overwhelming the police and emergency services.”
“We are estimating that the UK will be witness to over 5,000 illegal parties across New Years Eve weekend, with many organizers accommodating for fines within admission charges and communicating through sophisticated secure app systems which are outsmarting Police,” Kill added.
“The Government needs to consider ways in which to manage this grave situation, people will want to celebrate the end of 2020 in their own way. There needs to be some consideration given to the current restrictions on NYE, and a unified message, urging people to consider the impact of their actions.”
Manchester night czar Sacha Lord added: “The closure of hospitality venues in tier three, combined with the 11pm curfew elsewhere, only serves to encourage house parties and outdoor gatherings, and it’s inevitable we will see an increase of these on new year’s eve.
“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.”
In early November, the NTIA revealed that the announcement of a second lockdown in England sparked a direct rise in illegal raves.
Hundreds of people also attended a mass rave at a London warehouse in October. Footage posted on social media showed a huge crowd of mask-less attendees ignoring social distancing rules as they danced together at the event.
A DJ was also seen performing a set at the event, which is thought to have taken place in Barking, east London.