LONDON — A party at the Kiss Kuts barber shop in Croydon, south London, was cut short by police this week for breaking the government’s Covid-19 rules. The organizer and 22 guests face fines for participating in an illegal party.

Police were dispatched to the shop on the night of Feb. 20 after receiving a call about loud music coming from the location. When they arrived, they found a party in full swing, in violation of lockdown rules.

All of the partygoers were immediately sent home and are facing fines for breaching Health Protection Regulations.

The event organizer is facing a fine of £10,000 ($14,139).

Inspector Kathy Morteo, of the Metropolitan Police Department‘s South Area Command, said: “Everyone knows that it is neither lawful nor safe for such events to take place while the country is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Health Protection Regulations are in place for good and easily understood reasons, and it is our role to enforce them in London.”

Croydon had recorded 371 Covid-19 cases as of last week, a rate of 95.9 per 100,000 population.

Hairdressers, beauty and nail salons and tattoo parlors “are closed, and should remain closed,” according to government regulations during the pandemic.

“Until 8 March, England remains in a national lockdown. Londoners must stay at home,” the government’s advisory page on Covid-19 procedures states. You must stay at home. You must not leave or be outside your home except for legally permitted reasons.”

The government policy also states that meeting others is restricted, and that people should minimize their time outside of their home.

The UK had recorded 4,156,702 cases of the novel coronavirus and 121,978 deaths as of Feb. 25, according to data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, which tracks Covid-19 cases worldwide. Just 1 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

While infection rates are reducing in all boroughs of London, residents of New Addington, West Ealing and West Norwood have been singled out for enhanced testing for the South African variant of coronavirus.

“The level of infection remains very high, with more people still in hospital today than at the peak last April and admissions running at 1,600 a day,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a public address on Feb. 15. “So we have to keep our foot to the floor. And I can tell you today that the next million letters are landing on people’s mats right now, offering appointments [for vaccinations] to the over-65s and we are also contacting all those aged between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions, as well as adult carers.

“And if we can keep this pace up — and if we can keep supply steady — and I hope and believe we can – then we hope to offer a vaccination to everyone in the first nine priority groups — including everyone over 50 — by the end of April.”

(Edited by Judith Isacoff and Gaurab Dasgupta)

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