Officers in Nottingham city centre are preparing for a busy weekend as the UK relaxes some of its social distancing rules.
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for Nottingham city centre Paul Gummer, has issued the following statement: “As you will undoubtedly be aware, Saturday marks the gradual reopening of the hospitality sector across the country.
“In Nottingham city centre, we are working closely with licence holders, the City Council and our community to remind everyone of their collective responsibility to beat coronavirus.
“As we have a large number of bars, pubs and restaurants in a concentrated area, it is anticipated that this weekend will be a busy one, however, we are prepared should any issues arise.
“It is incredibly important that everyone recognises their responsibility in maintaining social distancing measures and continues to wash their hands regularly in order to best protect themselves from the virus.
“It is also vital that those who wish to visit a pub or bar this weekend must remember that they may have to book in advance before they do so, turning up on the day may result in you not being allowed to enter the premises.
“We will of course have officers patrolling the city centre hot spots during the nighttime economy to address any concerns the public may have and we will also work closely with licensed premises to ensure that if any issues escalate and require a police response, we will be there.
“There is an element of the unknown heading into weekend as it is difficult to estimate how many people will head into the city but rest assured, we are prepare and will attend any incident that requires our help.
“I anticipate there will be an influx early because the pubs are open at 11am. People were queuing before Primark opened so we could see that but as I said, it is very difficult to accurately estimate how busy it will be.
“The overriding message is be sensible and try to make a booking somewhere. There will be reduced capacity and you might be queuing for a long time.
“With that in mind, I’d like to remind everyone that any criminality, anti-social behaviour and assaults against officers or staff in any licensed premises will not be tolerated and we will seek to prosecute those who break the law and put people further at risk.
“Coronavirus has not disappeared and there are still restrictions in place as the disease remains a deadly threat.
“Take the opportunity to enjoy the gradual return to normal but please be responsible about it. If you have to queue to get into a pub or a bar, please be patient or go to another location.
“If anyone has any concerns this weekend or witnesses something suspicious, please speak to one of our officers on patrol in the city centre or call Nottinghamshire Police on 101. In an emergency, dial 999.”
Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Growth and the City Centre, Cllr Sam Webster, said: “There will be a phased opening of pubs and bars over the coming days in Nottingham with many businesses requiring customers to pre book prior to arrival. Capacity at many venues will be limited so it will not be business as usual for some time. People should check the arrangements and opening times before they head out.
“I’d urge people to be cautious and sensible and not place additional strain on the emergency services or the NHS.
“We know people will be looking forward to visiting pubs, bars and cafes – and we’re pleased to see them reopening and see businesses able to trade once again. But of course things aren’t fully back to normal and we all need to bear in mind that the virus is still prevalent which means we need to proceed cautiously and safely. People must continue to keep their distance from each other, keep left while walking through city streets, keep hands washed or sanitised and consider wearing a face covering.”