On Thursday 21 January the Home Secretary Priti Patel, announced an increase in the fine for anyone attending a house party of 15 or more people to £800. These fines double for each repeat offence up to a maximum fine of £6,400 and will be introduced from next week.
The majority of people in Greater Manchester are doing their best in relation to following the COVID regulations. However, we are receiving an increase in the number of reports regarding house parties and COVID breaches in general. Last weekend we received the highest number of reports of breaches since the middle of August 2020 (excluding New Year's Eve).
Last week GMP issued 190 FPNs, and out of these 87 were in relation to house parties. That's 46% of all FPNs given last week just for house parties.
Compared to the same period last month there has been a 16% increase and the fact that this month we are in tighter regulations, makes this increase even more worrying.
There is also an increase in the number of people in attendance at each property, with an average of 15 or more people.
This is not acceptable. Those in attendance are risking not only their own lives but also those of others and are putting extra pressure on an already struggling NHS.
We would rather the public follow the rules than have to resort to issuing FPNs, but if we do get called to a blatant breach, which includes house parties, we will look to issue fines to not only the homeowner, but to all those in attendance.
The regulations for COVID were introduced almost a year ago and we know this has been an extremely difficult period for everyone, but you must think of others. If you are invited to a house party don't attend, you are dangerously putting yourself and your family at risk.
If you intend to host a house party please know that we continue to work with our partners to take action against those premises that repeatedly break the rules. Our partners have issued closure orders and civil injunctions against individuals across Greater Manchester to stop this reckless activity. There is a new variant of COVID that spreads more rapidly and it's vital we all do everything we can to stop the spread.
The vaccines are being rolled out so the process of protecting everyone has started and a way back to a new sense of normality is in the pipeline. Hold off until we receive the all-clear from the Government and let's work together to keep Greater Manchester safe.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “It is extremely frustrating that despite every warning we are still seeing people break rules. I appreciate how difficult it has been for everyone over the past year but this is not an excuse to put people’s lives at risk.
“We are working with our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police as well as local housing providers to prevent, and if necessary, punish breaches of Covid-19 guidelines. We have the power to close properties for up to six months and prevent people from entering; this is something we have done before and will not hesitate to do again.
“The Covid vaccine is being rolled out in greater numbers by the day, a sign that one day we will soon be back to living normal lives. But, we are still faced with extremely high rates of Covid infection and sadly, further deaths. I implore people to do the right thing by staying at home, and not put themselves at risk of catching this virus.”