Merseyside Police is continuing to workside alongside local authorities, the NHS, local businesses and licensed premises to ensure the safety of visitors to the Knowsley, and the staff, who have been able to come back to work and offer some sense of normality as the lockdown slowly eases.
Last Saturday (4 July) businesses in the hospitality sector reopened their doors to welcome customers. But they have opened under strict government criteria which means that a visit to the pub, or a restaurant, is not the same as it was before lockdown. And those guidelines are there to protect the staff and the public and to help provide a potential second spike of the Coronavirus.
Last weekend we put an extensive policing plan in place alongside our partners to support local businesses and ensure that those coming into the Knowsley were able to safely enjoy their visit.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Carden, said: “Last weekend was a real test for all of us in one way or another. The licensees were determined to make sure that they had put all the necessary provisions in place to enable people to relax and enjoy their visit in safety; Knowsley Council and the Chamber of Commerce wanted to ensure that they were providing adequate support and guidance to the licensed premises, and the Emergency Services were on hand if required.
“Everyone pulled together to make the reopening a success without compromising the health of the public and it couldn’t have been done without the overwhelming support and common sense of the majority of people who came in to the city last weekend to support our local businesses.
“This weekend, and in the weeks to come, our priority will remain the health and safety of the public and my plea to those coming in to Knowsley is to enjoy the fantastic amenities that the area has to offer, but always remember it’s incredibly important that we continue to stick to social distancing rules going forward without becoming complacent.
ACC Carden, added: “More businesses and licensed premises have opened in the last week, but it is still vital that we all take care and adhere to the guidelines that have been put in place to protect us and our loved ones.
“If you are thinking of going out to a pub, restaurant, or to shop, remember that we still need to support each other, our local businesses, and of course our emergency services, by doing the right thing.
“Sadly, we are still in the midst of a public health emergency and our return to normality will be slow and cautious., and we must do all we can to keep making progress.
“Throughout the lockdown the overwhelming majority of the public supported the restrictions in place, and supported the valiant efforts of the NHS, and we need to ensure that the combined effort and work to slow down the spread of this disease is not undone.
“The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside’s patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we are now seeing in other areas of the country.
“Things will look and feel different for those who are intending to go out. You’ll have to book in, queue up, and ensure social distancing is maintained throughout. People will need to be really patient and respect those who are working as hard as possible under these strange conditions including door staff, bar staff and people serving you.
“You’ll also see new processes in place, such as pedestrianised roads in places including Liverpool City Centre and Prescot Town Centre, to help people social distance outside bars. These measures are designed specifically with your safety in mind and we are hugely supportive of them.
“Planning a night out in advance has never been more important, so please ensure you’re allowed into where you want to go, stay safe from the spread of the virus, and ensure travel arrangements are in place so you can safely get home. Do your research and put the safety of yourself and others first.
“We’ll have a major policing operation in place alongside businesses and all our Local Authorities this weekend. Our officers will be patrolling the city, and town centres to encourage and explain to people and we’ll be keeping a close eye on all of our key locations, through patrols, CCTV monitoring and working with partners.
“Our emergency services don’t need any extra strain at these times, so remember that NHS staff need to be available for emergencies, not dealing with avoidable situations where people have overindulged, or become involved in fights. If you do come out, enjoy yourselves, stay safe and be kind to each other.
“Report any concerns to us via 999 in an emergency, or through passing information via @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, and we’ll take the appropriate action.”
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “We were delighted with how the first weekend of pubs reopening safely went in Knowsley. That is a great credit to our residents, local businesses, emergency services and the tireless work of our Council staff. What we can’t afford to do is become complacent. Social distancing and other safety measures are in place for a reason. If everyone stays alert to the threat and adheres to the guidelines in place we can avoid spreading the virus further and protect our most vulnerable residents.”
Richard Sutton, Owner of Poco Coffee in Prescot, said: “We had a really good reopening weekend. It was busy and there were no issues due to the measures that were put in place. We have really benefited from the outdoor space the Council have provided. We want our customers to enjoy themselves again this weekend but it’s vital everyone continues to observe social distancing and behaves responsibly.”