After a recent surge in the number of people contracting coronavirus, Boris Johnson has ushered the UK into a new, six-month-long shutdown period, tightening restrictions on social gatherings, which means gatherings of more than six people indoors or outdoors are now illegal in England. Anyone caught flouting the rules with be slapped with a £100 fine, doubling with each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200. The restrictions won’t apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised outdoor team sports. So how will this affect parties?
Restaurants, pubs and places of worship have been allowed to open again since July 4, however from Monday, only table service will be permitted and customers will be required to wear face coverings at anytime they are not seated. Private dining rooms were also able to resume service, although groups will now be strictly limited to six adults and children. Groups of seven or more will only be permitted if they are from a single household.
Since August 15, weddings and wedding receptions of up to 30 guests were permitted, but as of Monday, that number will half. A maximum of 15 guests may attend, provided they comply with social distancing guidelines.
While close-proximity venues such as nightclubs will remain closed for now, the possibility of a small party for a maximum of six people in a private dining room, at a restaurant, indoors or outside, is now realistic. The latest shutdown is expected to last for six months, meaning that it will include the Christmas and New Year periods.
More stringent restrictions have been announced in Scotland, with mixing of households to be banned from Friday, meaning any celebratory events will only be permitted with members of your current household.
In the interests of finding out exactly how we’ll be celebrating now and in the future, Luxury spoke to Jens Nisson, Executive Chef Director of caterer Bubble Food (which is led by a Michelin-star-trained kitchen team and works with venues such as Cliveden House) and Johnny Roxburgh, party architect to the rich and famous, including the Queen, Prince William and Sting.
When can we party all together again?
Jens Nisson: Timings will obviously be dictated by the government, but we are already experiencing a gradual return, starting small with family gatherings and parties with close friends and building up to small weddings and celebrations.
The rule book will be rewritten, at least to start with. It’s going to take hard work and plenty of cooperation between party planners, operators and chefs to come up with ways of getting together and having fun within the rules. Technology will definitely play a part.
Read more: Can I still meet up with friends and family?