London came under stricter lockdown measures at one minute past midnight on Saturday as coronavirus infections continue to rise across England.
The capital joins Essex, York and other areas as regions with “Tier 2” restrictions, which bans people from different households mixing indoors. That includes restaurants, bars and pubs – a decision that will no doubt worsen the crisis in the already beleaguered hospitality industry.
Not that you could tell on Friday night. In central London, Soho was filled with people desperate to have one last evening of fun before the new regulations came in. It made for a chaotic night out – police officers reportedly made at least two arrests in the area, though the majority of people calmly made their way home once bars and pubs shut for the 10PM curfew.
Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, also held a “drink against the curfew” protest in the neighbourhood. In August, he was fined £10,000 for organising an anti-lockdown demonstration in violation of coronavirus legislation that bans gatherings of more than 30 people.
Around nine million people in London are under the new, tougher lockdown measures. That means that about half of the population in England are now facing further curbs on their social lives under “Tier 2” and “Tier 3” restrictions.
VICE photographer Chris Bethell was in Soho on Friday to document the messy singalongs and last orders.