Downing Street Lockdown Party: What were the Covid rules in May 2020 and what has Boris Johnston said?

In May 2020, the UK was in lockdown, but what where the Covid rules in May 2020 when the Downing Street Lockdown Party was taking place?

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 10:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:16 pm

The Prime Minister has broken his silence on the party that took place at the Downing Street Garden on May 20, 2020.

Here's everything you need to know about what the lockdown rules were in May 2020 and what Boris Johnston has said so far.

What was the party at Downing Street?

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By the end of May 2020, the UK had been in lockdown for nearly two months.

The party was uncovered by ITV News, who discovered an email sent by Boris Johnston's private secretary, Martin Reynolds to up to 100 people inviting them to "socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening".

It has been confirmed that 30 people did attend the event on May 20, 2020.

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What were the Covid rules in May 2020?

The UK went into lockdown on March 23, 2020.

On May 20, 2020, when the alleged incident happened, the UK had been under lockdown for nearly two months.

From May 13, 2020, guidance was eased from only allowing people to leave the house for food, medical supplies and daily exercise.

The new guidance allowed people to meet up outdoors with only one other person from outside their household and two metres social distancing, needed to be in place.

You were not allowed to visit friends and family at their homes and gardens and Covid support bubbles had not been introduced.

Our high streets were still ghost towns, with any shop deemed non-essential closed, it wouldn't be until June 15, 2020 that they would reopen.

What were the rules for working from home?

Rules at this time still encouraged working from home, however those in essential jobs including civil servants, were able to work in their place of employment.

In May, Boris Johnston announced that those who were unable to work from home could ‘speak to their employer about going back to work.’

But, workplace activities were restricted to working only, with social distance measures in place, socialising with work colleagues at this time was not allowed.

Some have tried to justify gatherings at Downing Street during the pandemic by saying it is a workplace, and staff were required to be there because they were key workers.

What happened if you broke Covid rules in May 2020?

If you broke the Covid rules in May 2020, you could be fined by the police.

Fines for anyone caught breaking the rules you faced a fine of £100, which rose to £3200 for repeat offenders.

Police services in England and Wales issued 14,244 on the spot fines between March 27 to May 11, 2020, according to latest figures.

What were the Covid figures in May 2020?

On the day of the alleged incidient - May, 20, 2020 there were 2,472 confirmed Covid cases in the UK and 328 Covid related deaths announced.

On May 20, 9,563 people were in hospital with Covid, of those 1,034 patients were on mechanical ventilator beds.

At this time regular testing was not available, there were not lateral flow tests available for people in their homes.

The vaccination had not yet passed its safety tests and the first dose would not be given until December 8, 2020.

What has Boris Johnston said about the Downing Street Party in May 2020?

Boris Johnston addressed the issue in his Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, January 12.

The Prime Minister started by saying he wanted to apologise, but then backtracked, reiterating he was not aware it was not a work event and that he went into the garden of Downing Street on 20 May 2020 to thank staff before going back into his office 20 minutes later.

When questioned further, the Prime Minister asked for people to wait until the conclusions of the enquiry.

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