A senior Brent councillor urged people not to be tempted to attend large gatherings on what would have been the weekend of Notting Hill Carnival.
There will be a host of virtual celebrations to honour Carnival over the bank holiday weekend (August 29-31) after the Covid-19 pandemic meant this year’s street events had to be cancelled for the first time in its 54-year history.
And Cllr Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, said people have a responsibility to keep themselves and others safe by sticking to the rules.
She said: “Coronavirus has not gone away and so I urge anyone considering going out to stay home and enjoy a celebration of Carnival culture and arts online. Please don’t risk bringing the virus back home to a loved one.
“The police and Brent Council officers will be on duty throughout carnival weekend and will take action to prevent anti-social behaviour and ensure social distancing measures are adhered to. Please take care of you, to take care of others”.
Notting Hill Carnival’s street processions will not take place for the first time in more than 50 years (Photo: Pixabay)
Metropolitan Police teams have been scouring social media for evidence of unauthorised street gatherings, with concerns there could be at least 35 aiming to take place over the weekend.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told The Daily Telegraph he was “very, very concerned” about this prospect and said officers could “have a real problem”, particularly if the weather is pleasant.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, recently announced that police now have the powers to fine organisers of illegal gatherings, such as raves, up to £10,000.
Those attending these events can be given fines of £100, while those who have already been caught at previous events will see the punishments doubled up to a maximum of £3,200.
This year’s Carnival will feature an extensive online programme events through ‘Access All Areas’, including music, performances, and interviews.
There are also food recommendations, an online shop, and opportunities to discover more about Afro-Caribbean culture.