Merseyside Police is continuing to workside alongside local authorities, the NHS, local businesses and licensed premises to ensure the safety of visitors to the Wirral, 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 Wirral 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; Wirral Council and the Chamber of Commerce wanted to ensure 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 Wirral 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 the Wirral 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.
“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.
ACC Rob Carden added: “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 unusual 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 Pat Hackett, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “Staff across the Council have worked steadfastly to support many of the borough’s shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses to reopen safely, in line with national guidance, in recent weeks.
“By many accounts, reopening for many businesses went smoothly last weekend, but we’re aware that not everything is open yet.
“We understand the importance of these businesses to the local economy and we want to help them thrive, not just survive. But it’s also vital that we do not lose sight of the situation we are in. Coronavirus has not gone away, and business owners, staff and customers must embrace the health guidance, designed to keep us all safe and to keep our high streets open.
“The Government advice remains: please stay home, as much as possible.
“But if you are planning on visiting a retailer or other business this weekend, you can expect to keep your distance from others, be asked to wash or sanitise your hands regularly and you may even be asked to give your details as part of the national Track and Trace programme.
“We encourage businesses to visit the council’s website for more information and guidance on how to move safely into this new phase, to protect their staff and customers and, most importantly, to Keep Wirral Well.”