Salford was awash with street parties to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day but the lockdown respite contributed to 2,419 reports to Greater Manchester Police of potentially risky gatherings.
The street parties are undoubtedly a positive for morale as people socialised and had some fun; especially if they live alone, but not all revellers stuck to the social distancing safety rules.
Jennifer Rice, 21, took part in a street party on Rycroft Lane, Worsley, which came as a welcome relief to herself and her neighbours.
“It was nice to spend the afternoon in a bit of normality,” she said.
“In general, it was just nice to have a bit of time with other people other than people just in my house.”
Residents of Rycroft Lane enjoy a sing-song together, with some questionable social distancing.
However, as the day went on and the drinks started flowing, people started to take risks.
“To be honest, as the night went on, social distancing probably did get forgotten about a bit, and I know it’s bad, but I think as a one-off it’s probably what people needed because I feel like everyone’s starting to get a bit fed up and feels like it’s never gonna end,” she said.
Sarah Grange, 49, from Hope near Salford Royal Hospital, also took part in a street party on Orlanda Avenue. This party however, was a textbook example of how to have fun in the sun, while abiding by the social distancing guidelines the government has put in place.
She said: “Everybody stayed at least two metres apart if not more. Most people stayed in their own front gardens. There was a suggestion to do the social distance conga but we thought better of it.”
An Orlanda Avenue couple enjoying the sun and festivities.
Miss Grange went on to express her concern about news of other more risky street parties which have taken place.
“What might be interesting is to see if there is a spike in the 14 days after the VE day street parties. Lots of news articles clearly show a distinct lack of social distancing. We were all very sensible as we have a lot of people who work at Salford Royal on the street.”
Only time will tell in the next few weeks when we will see if the 2,000-plus parties increased infection rates, or were simply a harmless bit of patriotic fun to lift the gloom of lockdown.