Crowds were seen flocking into London’s streets and the Underground last night on the first night after the introduction of the 10pm curfew.
Video footage shows a busy Oxford Circus as a strict closing time for pubs and restaurants meant revellers were all forced to go home at the same time.
One witness described the Tubes as ‘the busiest I’ve seen in central London for months’ as everyone ‘rolled onto the streets’ with no staggered leaving times.
Police officers across the city were seen enforcing the new coronavirus restrictions as venue staff cleared tables and chairs off the streets.
Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist, who is leading the Met’s response to the pandemic, said the ‘vast majority of Londoners’ have stuck to the rules and ‘responded positively to the unprecedented situation we are in’.
‘We urge the public to continue to report serious breaches to us via the 101 telephone system or using our online reporting system,’ he added.
‘However, we should all bear in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the rules which may apply to any situation so an apparent breach may not be what it appears and not every call may generate an immediate police response.
‘Additionally, demands on the Met from crime, non-Covid related anti-social behaviour and protests are returning to pre-Covid levels so we will continue to respond to these alongside the pandemic in order to keep Londoners safe.’
Deputy Twist thanked people for being compliant but warned that there is a ‘renewed need for everyone to do everything they can to minimise the risk of transmission of what is a potentially deadly disease’.
He said police would be firm with people who ‘refuse to comply’ with new laws and ‘deliberately place communities at risk’.
A sign at a bar in Soho told customers enjoying their last drink to ‘Get Out to Help Out’ in a dig to how quickly the rules have changed since people were encouraged to visit their local pubs and restaurants under ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ in August.
Revellers across England and Wales, including university students, were seen being turfed out of pubs and restaurants by police as the new curfew came into force last night.
Customers and staff must also now wear face masks at all times in pubs and restaurants except when sitting down to eat or drink.
Boris Johnson announced the strict new measures on Tuesday while warning the public that the UK is at a ‘perilous turning point’ in the battle with Covid-19.
He abandoned efforts to get more workers back into offices and added the restrictions could last for six months, taking them well beyond Christmas, unless progress is made.
But the effectiveness of the new measures have been questioned after Cabinet minister Michael Gove admitted it was fine to carry on drinking at someone else’s home after the curfew kicks in, as long as groups stick to the ‘rule of six’.
World news – GB – London streets rammed as curfew forces everyone onto Tube at the same time