That old Grand Theft Auto meme said it best: ah shit, here we go again. On Wednesday December 16 at 00.01am, London will officially enter Tier 3, which means bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas will all be forced to close at what is normally their busiest and most lucrative time of year. It also means no socialising indoors, unless the visitors are in your support bubble. The length of time Tier 3 restrictions will be in place is currently undetermined, but is set to be reviewed every 14 days, which would take us right up to December 30 (though some reports initially suggested the review would take place on December 23). Either way, the timing has placed a giant question mark over what will happen in London for New Year’s Eve.
NYE was already hanging in the balance before Monday’s announcement. The official London New Year’s Eve fireworks were cancelled in September, and the 11pm curfew for hospitality venues meant most of the capital’s club nights would have to give the usual midnight countdown a miss. Some came up with clever ways to adapt: The Cause in Tottenham had planned a boozy NYE Breakfast Club which would celebrate ‘midnight’ at noon. Bruce Grove’s Roller Nation was going to put on a retro NYE roller disco that would finish at 10.45pm and The Prince of Peckham was due to hold a massive socially distanced party across its three floors. If the case is reviewed on December 30, or sooner, and Tier 3 restrictions eased, events like these may go ahead, but the uncertainty will put a considerable strain on these venues, leaving little or no time for planning. The same applies to the hundreds of independent London restaurants who were depending on New Year’s Eve brunch and early dinner reservations to help them stay afloat.
Outdoor NYE activities will remain largely unaffected by the Tier 3 restrictions, as long as Londoners attend in groups of no more than six. Outdoor ice rinks are allowed to stay open, which means you can still book in for an evening skate on New Year’s Eve at The Queen’s House rink in Greenwich. There are also a few December 31 tickets available for the massive light trail, Christmas at Kew, though they won’t be around for long. Drive-in cinemas can remain open, so you could say goodbye to 2020 with an outdoor screening of ‘Pretty Woman’.
For big NYE bashes that will actually take you to midnight, the only guaranteed options – for now – are the virtual ones. Two of the biggies include Rave to the Moon, where DJs like Mr Scruff, Rob da Bank and DJ Yoda will play from venues across the world, and ‘Hello 2021: UK’, a global YouTube stream that will feature a live performance from Dua Lipa along with sketches from Michaela Coel and Katherine Ryan. Or, there’s always.... the ‘Hootenanny’. 😭
Check out this page for updates on NYE parties in London when restrictions for NYE are confirmed.
Confused by Tier 3 restrictions? You’re not the only one. Find out what it means for you.
On a lighter note, why not visit these Christmas markets that are still open and socially distanced.