Life

Chaotic Photos of the Last Night Out Before London's New COVID-19 Lockdown

Arrests, singalongs in Soho and an anti-lockdown protest with a cameo from Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers.
October 17, 2020, 11:25am
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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.

Piers Corbyn in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures

Piers Corbyn.

A waiter carries chairs in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
A mass singalong in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
A man looks on in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Three women in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Waiters in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
A man getting arrested in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Anti-lockdown sign in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
A group in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Police and drinkers outside the Montagu Pyke in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Outdoor drinkers in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Friends on a night out in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Outside a corner shop in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Restaurant customers in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Police confiscating alcohol in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Leather daddies in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
A man in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
People waving goodbye in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Bus full sign in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
Security outside Soho House in London
People in Soho in London one the last night before new Tier 2 lockdown measures
A woman rides her bike in Soho