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Police who responded to a "large house party" in northern England actually allowed the festivities to continue after finding a DJ blaring uplifting tunes as residents drank and sang along from their separate front yards–all while maintaining appropriate social distancing measures, according to a report.
Residents living on Southcoates Avenue in Hull, a port city in East Yorkshire, England, organized the event on their local Facebook group. The party kicked off Easter weekend before the country entered its fifth week under lockdown as part of an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Chris Marshall, a schoolteacher living on the block who also works as a professional singer and DJ on the side, agreed to play music for his neighbors from his front garden, Sky News reported. The party was set to begin after the scheduled evening applause to honor doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontlines of the crisis.
Each house on the street has a walled-off front garden. Members of each separate household, including children, parents and some elderly residents, were seen outside. Some enjoyed drinks from behind their gates. Others were seen dancing along with the music.
Responding to calls about a “large house party,” Humberside Police arrived at the scene but quickly left after seeing the residents were maintaining social distancing measures that limit large gatherings as part of an effort to curb the spread of infection, Marshall said.
"A police car came crawling down the road and I thought 'Oh no, how is this going to look?' The officer came up to me and said 'I've never seen anything like this in my life’,” Marshall told Sky News. "After a quick wander around he said 'you're not breaking any rules and you're fine to carry on'. He told us 'it's nice to see people happy.' They even flashed the blue lights for the children as they left."
In a press release Tuesday, Humberside Chief Constable Lee Freeman mentioned the street party while thanking residents who chose to stay at home and save lives Easter weekend.
“The majority of people have listened and worked with us and this is greatly appreciated. One example from this weekend was a street party that was reported as taking place in Hull,” he said. “Officers attended and spoke to a number of people, who were all in their front gardens with members of their own household and fully adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Officers gave words of advice and requested the guidance was continued to be adhered to and left the local community to safely make the most of enjoying their evening," he continued. "There were no rules or guidance being breached and my officers dealt with this situation with the type of common sense that I and communities have been asking for.”
Coinciding with the isolating feeling of quarantine, Marshall said residents requested that he sing uplifting tunes such as Neil Diamond's “Sweet Caroline” and even as Queen’s “I Want to Break Free.”
"We're going through a lot at the moment and if we can work within the rules to bring people a bit of happiness, then we should do that,” Marshall told Sky News. "This has made connections that will last longer than all this will."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the entire United Kingdom on lockdown on March 23 and has since rolled out measures closing all non-essential business, banning gatherings of more than two people from not the same household, and urging people not to leave their homes unless for "very limited purposes," according to The Telegraph.
Johnson himself contracted the coronavirus, was hospitalized and has since retested negative. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been deputizing for the prime minister during Johnson’s illness and recovery.