Covid chaos raises fear that vacant buildings and rural areas may be targeted for illegal New Year raves
The confusion and mixed messages of Covid restrictions across the UK will lead to a rise in unlicensed music events this New Year’s Eve, according to Nicholas Bye, Business Development Director, The VPS Group.
“Wales and Scotland have imposed strict regulations that make holding large events illegal. Even in England, where the government has announced no new restrictions before the New Year, cities like London have declared a major incident because of Covid, and parties and celebrations have already been cancelled. This widespread chaos is very likely to put pressure on the use of vacant properties to host unlicensed music events, or illegal raves.” said Mr Bye.
Nightclubs in Wales are closed as COVID-19 infection rates continue to increase across the United Kingdom. Venues were shuttered from 27th December in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Scotland has imposed capacity limits for larger events of 100 people at indoor standing events, 200 people at indoor seated events, and 500 people at outdoor events (whether seated or standing), with no exemptions, and with law that a distance of one metre between groups of up to three households must be adhered too at all indoor and outdoor events.
The London Mayor has cancelled the traditional Trafalgar Square celebrations, and many private venues, due to the uncertainty around the current Covid-19 situation, decided not to risk a late intervention from the government by cancelling their plans in advance.
“Empty warehouses on quiet industrial estates, school halls, disused office blocks, through to fields in rural areas are likely targets where hundreds of people can be alerted by social media at a moment’s notice to an unlicensed event.” Mr Bye added.
Last year, despite a possible £10,000 fine for holding such events, the police were kept busy dispersing crowds at hundreds of illegal parties across the UK. One thousand people turned up to just one such rave in an empty warehouse in Kettering, Northamptonshire.
The VPS Group are urging owners, property and facility managers to be extra cautious if they have empty buildings or sites under their control, and to ensure adequate security precautions are put in place in the next few days. Damage caused by raves could cost owners and insurance companies potentially in excess of £30 million in total.
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