Northumbria Police have today (Friday) welcomed the re-opening of businesses across the Force area – and asked the public to continue to behave responsibly.
This Saturday (July 4) will see some of the region’s bars, pubs and restaurants open their doors for the first time with strict measures in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
These measures include more use of hand sanitiser, improved ventilation and mandatory table service indoors, rather than customers standing at a shared bar.
Members of a household will be able to meet with one other at any given time in a pub or restaurant.
Northumbria Police have today welcomed the re-opening of businesses and are expecting a busy weekend across the Force as the public enjoy their first night out since lockdown.
However, a senior officer has urged the public to behave responsibly after officers were called to a number of reports of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in recent weeks.
Superintendent Karl Wilson, of Northumbria Police, said: “During this difficult period of lockdown I am really proud at the way our communities have come together.
“Saturday will see many of our region’s businesses open their doors for the first time since lockdown and hopefully it signals the beginning of a gradual return to some kind of normality.
“But I want to ask people to show some personal responsibility this weekend as we have seen an increase in alcohol-related anti-social behaviour during this lockdown period, particularly during last week’s warm weather.
“We all have a responsibility to respect our communities and our fellow citizens, and we must not undermine everything we have sacrificed during lockdown.
“If you are going to have a drink then please do so responsibly and follow the measures that have been put in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
“We will be on duty across the Force to ensure that everyone can enjoy our businesses safely and in a responsible manner. We will take action against anyone who fails to meet the standards expected of us all.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: "For months many of us have longed to catch up with friends and family over a few drinks at our favourite pubs and bars - a goal signalling a return to normality.
“But we're not returning to normality just yet, far from it. Social distancing is still very much at play and from this weekend we need to work together to create a new 'normal' for going out, one that is considerate of others and works to keep everyone safe.
"I'm pleased to support local businesses who are able to re-open and am grateful of those who are choosing to bide their time, either to make their venues safer or to open when things have calmed and restrictions have eased further - putting less pressure on services like our police."
Kim added: "We're at a critical stage here. Let's not undo the progress we've made in fighting this deadly virus which has caused loss and struggles for many.
“If we run too far with a new sense of freedom and a disregard for the rules and guidance, we risk people's health and we risk turning the clocks back.
“You, me, our police, schools, NHS - nobody wants to go back and repeat those last few months. Right now we all need to be sensible and do our bit to keep our region's recovery moving in the right direction."
Anyone who wants to report anti-social behaviour, or any form of criminality, is encouraged to do so on the Northumbria Police website.
You can also call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For further information about Coronavirus, and what kind of businesses will be allowed to re-open this weekend, visit the Government website at www.gov.uk.