Why are we still banned from gathering outdoors?

Organisers of an AJ Tracey gig have been handed a ridiculous £10,000 fine.

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Topics Culture Politics UK

The rates of Covid infections and deaths in the UK have collapsed – and yet it is still illegal to gather outside in groups of more than six.

In accordance with these draconian rules, the organisers of an AJ Tracey gig have been fined £10,000 after hundreds of people turned up.

The rapper said on Twitter that he ‘didn’t expect that many people’ to attend his Manchester gig, and that his next gig, in Bristol, would not go ahead due to safety concerns.

Numerous others have been hit with brutal £10,000 fines for arranging outdoor gatherings during the pandemic. London mayoral candidate Piers Corbyn received one for organising an anti-lockdown protest last year. A nurse was handed the same punishment for her protest against the government’s one per cent pay rise for the NHS.

Criminalising outdoor gatherings has no justification. Even the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance – a champion of lockdowns – admitted last month that, ‘It’s difficult to see how outdoor gatherings lead to spikes’ in Covid cases. That was before the UK reached its target of offering a Covid vaccine to all 32million people designated as vulnerable by the government. And over the weekend, SAGE scientist John Edmunds said ‘there is no instance we know of transmission occurring outside’.

But according to Greater Manchester Police superintendent Caroline Hemingway, ‘We are still very much in the midst of a public-health crisis and it remains as important as ever to abide by the Covid-19 legislation’. Really? Where has she been over the past few months?

There was never any good reason to dish out potentially life-changing fines for people breaching Covid rules. But to do so now, with Covid firmly in retreat, is more outrageous than ever.

It is heartwarming to see so many people out and about after being stuck at home for a year. AJ Tracey deserves praise for helping to bring the UK back to life – not punishment for breaching these nonsensical rules.

Picture by: Getty.

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