Nottingham students have been hit with fines totalling £1,600 after hosting parties – just as the city and county were being told they have been put in high risk category by the Government.
The government yesterday announced that both Nottingham and Nottinghamshire was to be put in the new “high” risk category – as numbers of positive Covid cases continues to spiral across all areas. Nottingham still has the highest level of positive cases in the country.
The new rules which come into effect tomorrow means households no longer being allowed to mix indoors plus other new restrictions imposed to help stop the spread of the virus.
Health chiefs have said this is the only way to prevent the virus from continuing at the rate it is, with a very real fear that this could lead to more vulnerable residents becoming ill, hospital admissions going up and even unnecessary deaths.
If the numbers continue to rise the city could find itself in the “very high” level three bracket which will mean the closure of many businesses and potentially the loss of livelihoods as a result.
But despite this timely warning some students from both of the city’s universities last night still continued on having parties and putting lives in danger.
Nottinghamshire Police took swift action to close down the parties and fine those who refused to obey the rules.
In total eight students were fined £200 each and a further 26 were warned after officers were called to properties across city centre and in the Radford area of Nottingham.
Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We are experiencing an exponential rise in cases across Nottinghamshire, particularly in the city where we currently have more cases per 100,000 people than anywhere else in the UK.
“The seriousness of this situation cannot be underestimated and that is why the county and city has been classed as an area of high risk under the new government three tier system.
“We all have a part to play in the fight against this disease and that applies to everyone, not just students. However, the fact that these fines were issued to students hosting house parties shows that there are still some people who need to understand the potential consequences of their actions.
“The reality of the situation could not be clearer – the more this disease spreads, the more restrictions we can expect on our daily lives.
“Working with partners in the City and County Councils and both universities, we will do everything we can to engage, encourage and explain why people need to follow the rules. Clearly, those who choose to blatantly ignore the legislation will be fined.
“We will continue to take this approach, as we have done throughout the Coronavirus crisis, as part of our response to the new restrictions that come into place tomorrow.”
The parties took place at an apartment in Marco Island in Brook Street, at an apartment in the Litmus Building in Huntingdon Street and at a house in Johnson Road in Radford between 1.30am and 3am this morning (Tuesday 13 October).
Nottinghamshire Police, Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham have pleaded with students to adhere to rules as part of the nationwide effort to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Yesterday, the government announced that Nottinghamshire, including Nottingham city centre, would be classed as an area of ‘high risk’ on the new Coronavirus tier system.
This means that Nottinghamshire is currently an area where there is a higher chance of transmission of the disease.
Restrictions imposed from tomorrow (Wednesday 14 October) include no mixing with other households indoors. The rule of six will still apply to those outdoors, where the risk of the virus spreading is deemed to be lower.
Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “We know that many students are doing the right thing so it’s incredibly disappointing that this action was necessary. We have just been placed in a High risk category by Government for Covid because our infection rates are soaring, especially in the younger population.
“It is totally unacceptable if some students think this sort of behaviour doesn’t affect anyone else – it risks spreading a deadly disease into the wider community so it’s time to take this seriously. If not, we will be placed under even stricter restrictions by Government which will impact on everyone’s lives even more significantly.”
A Nottingham Trent University spokesperson said: “We are investigating this as a matter of urgency.
“We have made clear to our students that they – like everyone – have a crucial role to play in always following the rules and limiting the spread of this virus.
“Where we have evidence of any breaches, there could be consequences under our disciplinary processes, including fines or being excluded from the university.”
A University of Nottingham spokesperson added: “The University will investigate breaches of the coronavirus restrictions, which are an offence under our student code of discipline, and there are serious consequences for any students who do not obey the rules, including disciplinary action, fines and campus sanctions – in addition to police fines.
“We are in regular communication with our staff and students asking them to continue to closely follow and adhere to Government guidelines and public health restrictions, to contain the spread of the virus and protect our University community.”