Wedding with 400 guests busted in London Jewish neighborhood, potentially adding £10,000-fine to expenses

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The Metropolitan Police busted a wedding celebration in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in London. Around 400 guests had convened behind covered windows in violation of the UK’s strict social distancing rules.

The party was dispersed on Thursday night after police received a tip about a large gathering in Egerton Road, Stamford Hill. According to the BBC, the raid targeted the Yesoday Hatorah Girls Senior School. Stamford Hill is home to a large community of Orthodox Haredi Jews.

Organiser of wedding in Stamford Hill to be considered for £10,000 COVID breach fine.Officers responded and found around 400 people inside the venue. @MPSSpecialshttps://t.co/qUi2hjoh27

— Hackney Police (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@MPSHackney) January 22, 2021

Police said an estimated 400 guests were taking part in the event, though many left when the officers arrived. A group of five attendees were issued £200 ($275) fixed penalty notices. The organizers of the event are facing a far heftier fine of £10,000 for the rule-breaking gathering.

1. I've lost count of how many Jewish weddings have blatantly broken local Corona rules.https://t.co/j2NP0GkG79

— Rabbi Josh Yuter (@JYuter) January 22, 2021

Various officials blasted the violators, saying that hosting secret parties in the middle of a deadly pandemic is “completely unacceptable,” especially considering that many lives have been lost to Covid-19 in the Haredi community itself. The Borough of Hackney, where the incident happened, recorded almost 2,000 cases of the disease last week, and over 300 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Mayor Philip Glanville said he will be meeting with the Rabbinate “to see how we can prevent further incidents of this nature.”

Orthodox Jewish communities throughout the world have been reluctant to observe bans on mass gatherings, saying their spiritual obligations are more important than the mitigation of infection risks. This has opened them to criticism, including by members of other branches of Judaism who question the rationale.

3. And I say this having gotten married during Corona myself. We were lucky to be in the middle of the 1st and 2nd wave in Israel. We had a lovely wedding completely within the guidelines at the time, but we were 100% prepared to cancel and get married in a backyard if need be.

— Rabbi Josh Yuter (@JYuter) January 22, 2021

Religious people are not the only ones defying lockdowns in Britain, even as the government imposes increasingly “draconian” measures, saying they are absolutely crucial to contain the infection. Rave parties appear to be the prime target for the Home Office’s plan to increase fines for lockdown violators, which was announced earlier this week. With the screws tightening by the week, Britons are left to wonder and joke about the lengths that authorities will go to enforce the rules.

BREAKING: F35 Hoverjet scrambled to a Girls School in Stamford Hill (London) after reports of 400 people not #SocialDistancing at a wedding being covertly held there. 612 warning shots were fired as well as 12 warning missiles. #coronavirus#COVID19#AvGeekpic.twitter.com/jvbGWBaCja

— RAF_Luton (@RAF_Luton) January 22, 2021

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