FOOTIE ace Paul Scholes threw a huge party at his Oldham pad — on the day a new Covid lockdown was imposed.
The Manchester United legend went ahead with celebrations for Arron’s 21st on the first day new anti-Covid regulations were imposed across a swathe of the North West.
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Camera phone footage showed Arron singing karaoke wearing a “Lockdown Live” slogan T-shirt and partygoers ignoring social distancing as they drank and danced.
The party at Scholes’ £3.5million Oldham home, which went on until 2.30am, took place as 4.5 million people across the North West were banned from get-togethers in other people’s homes or gardens.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen tonight accused TV pundit and ex-England midfielder Scholes, 45, of setting a bad example.
He added: “You’d expect a much more responsible attitude from a role model who has worn an England shirt 66 times.
“The people of Oldham are fully aware reckless behaviour like this has caused the return to lockdown.
“While young people are less likely to suffer serious complications if they are infected, they may spread it to somebody for whom the consequences could be very severe.”
Some living near Scholes also accused him today of “blatant disregard for the rules”.
One local said: “The family have been planning this for weeks. Originally they were going to have a big party at a hotel but they cancelled that on Friday morning because of the latest advice.
“Then an hour later word went round that they were going to have a house party at home instead.
“It’s madness. They have ignored all the rules because they wanted to go ahead with it.
“What about all the people who haven’t been able to go to funerals or get married in front of their friends because of the lockdown?
“Loads of people have had to cancel their birthday parties — why is Paul Scholes’ son different?
“Paul has a reputation as a down to earth, normal guy. He’s loved by millions of United fans and should be setting an example.”
The local added: “It’s exactly this kind of selfish behaviour which is making it so hard for the country to shake off the pandemic.
“There were loads of young people at the party. It started at around 7pm and went on until at least 2.30am.
“Now all the people who attended are going to go home and potentially infect their brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents. Paul should hang his head in shame.”
The party kicked off 19 hours after new rules came into force at midnight on Thursday.
During the celebrations Scholes’ daughter Alicia uploaded videos to her Instagram account showing youngsters close to each other as they danced and sang.
Arron, wearing a black T-shirt, was at one point lifted up by his friends and carried across the dancefloor.
One Instagram user commented under Alicia’s posts: “How is Arron having a party at your house when Oldham is in lockdown between 2 households?”
Friday’s tightening of rules came after a spike of coronavirus infections in large areas across the North West.
Loads of people have had to cancel their birthday parties — why is Paul Scholes’ son different?
Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey urged the public to respect the tightened rules.
He said: “We understand the frustration of not being able to continue social lives, or visit friends and family, however the risk of coronavirus is still present and attending events in large groups is in breach of Covid legislation.
“The only way to stay safe and protect your family and loved ones is by following the guidelines.”
'YOUNG PEOPLE THINK THEY'RE IMMUNE'
Manchester mayor Andy Burnham today repeated the police chief’s message, saying: “Anyone can get coronavirus and anyone can spread it.
“That is why it is so important everyone observes the new restrictions. This includes not seeing friends and family in each other’s homes and gardens.”
Public health officials in Greater Manchester have said they believe the Covid-19 spike is being fuelled by young people.
Deputy mayor Sir Richard Leese said: “You can see young people thinking basically they’re immune — and that if they do catch it, it won’t be too serious.”
Scholes, his family and other Oldham residents were already living under tougher rules after restrictions were introduced when the borough saw a dramatic spike of more than 100 cases in a week.
According to the latest figures, the infection rate in Oldham has soared to 58.1 per 100,000 people.
Anywhere with more than 50 cases per 100,000 is rated “red” by the Government.
On Tuesday residents were told they could not have “social visitors” to their home and must keep two metres apart from friends and family when seeing them outside.
Vulnerable and elderly people who have been shielding were asked to continue doing so for another two weeks.
Officials blamed a “significant proportion” of recent cases on multiple positive tests in a single household.
Deputy leader of Oldham council Arooj Shah said: “We’re urging residents to continue to take the risk of coronavirus seriously and to stick to the guidelines.
“The best way to avoid infection is to limit contact with others as much as possible and to stay home wherever you can, including working from home.
“Limit contact with other people and respect social distancing where you do go out.
“We know people across Oldham desperately want to see their friends and family and get back to normal.
“But these restrictions are essential if we are to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
According to government rules, hosting a party at your home is illegal. Police can shut it down and fine those attending £100.
In May, scientists said family celebrations such as birthdays and weddings are among the easiest ways to spread Covid-19.
Studies show indoor gatherings of ten to 30 people can result in one person carrying the virus to infect up to ten others.
Adam Kucharski, a senior epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “If you look at where these super-spreading events occur, it’s often at family gatherings and meals and weddings and parties.
“We are seeing ten or so people getting infected instead of the usual reproduction number, which is about two or three.”
In July, the Scholes family including youngest son Aiden, 14, holidayed at their villa on the Algarve. Alicia posted a picture on July 18 of them all in the sea with a paddle board.
A video showed Arron, who last year was convicted of assaulting an ex-school friend, lying on the beach.
The Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to Portugal at the start of July after ruling the country did not have enough of a grip on coronavirus.
The Government rules are that anyone arriving in the UK from Portugal must isolate for 14 days. Anyone who refuses can be fined £1,000.
The guidance says: “Self-isolating will reduce the chance of a second wave of coronavirus in the UK and help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS.”
The Sun last month published pictures showing Scholes’ wife Claire was no longer wearing a wedding ring. The couple met when they were 18 and wed six years later.
Claire has moved out of the family home and is renting a place 20 minutes away. Scholes played more than 700 times for United and won 66 England caps.
He retired in 2013 and is co-owner of Salford City FC and a regular BT Sport pundit. He had short spell as manager of Oldham Athletic.
Scholes has been contacted for comment about the party.
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