Students to ignore St Patrick’s Day restrictions

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St. Patrick’s Day celebrations 2020 / 
Credit: JMU Journalism

Students in Liverpool are planning to ignore Covid-19 restrictions to host illegal gatherings this St Patrick’s day.

House parties and get togethers of up to 30 people are currently being planned in student halls and rented accommodation this Wednesday, with some students saying that Covid rules are “stupid” and “should not apply” to them.

Liverpool  is usually bustling on St Patrick’s Day with thousands of people taking to the streets to enjoy the celebrations. But this year government guidance states people must stay within their household or support bubbles. Under current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, people are only allowed to spend outdoor recreational time with one other person outside of their household.

A University of Liverpool student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Most of the at-risk people have had their jabs so I don’t see why the rules should still apply to us. At the end of the day we are young, healthy people. The chances of anything bad to us happening if we caught Covid is basically none.

“At the moment I’m not working and not going home any time soon so if I got infected it wouldn’t affect anyone but me.

“On St. Patrick’s Day me and my mates will probably have a few drinks in the park if the weather is any good. At night we have invited 25 maybe 30 people round to ours but, again, they’re all in the same situation as me and the only people they are a risk to is themselves.”

So far, nearly 24.5 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination. Over 70s, care home residents, healthcare workers and people required to shield were all offered a jab by mid-February.

The programme is now inviting those aged over 56 to book their appointment, with the rest of over-50s to follow. These groups combined account for 88% of coronavirus related deaths in the UK so far.

Liverpool-based student, Rebecca Russell, from Northern Ireland said: “As a student I would usually be home for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a big celebration at home.

“There is a big Irish community within Liverpool, so I think it’s a way for us to come together and make it feel like home.

“Obviously, we are still under government restrictions and we’re not meant to have people around. But, if you’re being sensible, I think it’s fine if you invite a few friends. If you have around 10 to 12 people around, I don’t think that’s much of an issue.

“We’re all getting tested so can be confident that we don’t have the virus.”

Over the past week it has been reported that the Covid-19 infection rate has been the lowest it has been in months with England being in a third lockdown since the start of January. According to Liverpool City Council’s weekly report, the infection rate up to March 13 stands at 51.8 per 100,000 population.

However, the council warns that some areas still have high levels of infections, with the top three wards being Belle Vale (20 cases), Picton (17 cases) and Kirkdale (15 cases).

There is currently a four-step plan in place to ease England out of lockdown

A further student living in the Wavertree area said:

“We actually had the police come around to our house the day after Halloween. Someone in the street reported us the night before for having a party but he said that they were so overwhelmed with calls that they were still finishing them off the morning after.

“He basically just asked if we had people around and we said it was just the six of us who were living there, and he gave us a verbal warning just in case.

“It definitely wouldn’t put us off hosting a St Patrick’s Day party because I feel like it would just be the same situation, where the police will be so overwhelmed with calls that nothing will happen.”

Merseyside Police have refused to comment on what precautions, if any, will be put in place to control any rule-breakers this Wednesday. However, their website clarifies that any breach of restrictions could result in fines.

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • £200 for the first offence, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days.
  • £400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

Find out more about Covid-19 restrictions and police powers at MerseysidePolice.uk

 

About Marianna Owen, JMU Journalism