The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) is urging the public to show restraint, drink responsibly and remember social distancing on the first weekend that pubs and restaurants reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Many frontline emergency services & NHS personnel have voiced their concern over what they regard as an impending tsunami of disorder and violence this weekend.
Saturday 4th July will see the re-opening of pubs, bars & restaurants which have been shut for the last three months owing to the life-saving necessity of social distancing.
A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service confirmed that increased staffing had been put on over the weekend (Saturday 4th July through to Monday 7th July), but EEAST bosses are hoping that this contingency planning will not be needed.
During the lockdown, EEAST has dealt with around 25 per cent fewer alcohol-related incidents on Saturdays compared with the same period last year.
Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer at East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:
“As an ambulance trust, we are always planning ahead and risk assessing.
“With pubs and restaurants reopening, there is clearly potential for increased callouts, and we are asking the public to drink responsibly and respect the guidelines put in place by businesses and the government, such as social distancing and regular hand washing.
“We have put in place contingencies to deal with the increased activity but are hopeful they will not be needed, and our staff will be left to deal with urgent cases.
“The safety of our patients and staff is of paramount importance to us, and we hope the public will enjoy themselves safely and sensibly.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Alcohol Licensing and Harm Reduction, Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Kearton, said:
“From 4 July many pubs and bars, which had closed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, will be able to reopen with restrictions designed to protect the public from Coronavirus.
“We understand that many people will want to take advantage of this opportunity as soon as possible, especially after having been unable to do so for so long. Whilst we of course want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves, we must remember that Coronavirus is still a serious risk to health. As such, people need to continue to follow the Government’s guidance to mitigate the transmission of the virus, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and following the instructions of staff.
“We urge people to drink responsibly, follow the guidance set out and maintain a safe environment for everyone. The vast majority of drinkers are responsible but we know some people will drink to excess and become vulnerable to harm or indeed cause harm to others.
“The key advice is to know your limits, plan your day and consider how you will get home safely.
“Anti-social and criminal behaviour is not acceptable and police continue to work with the night time economy to maximise safety and cut crime.”
It is not clear if the hospitality industry has invested more money in security & door staff in preparation for the reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants.
The UK Hospitality trade body is expecting around 60% of the UK’s hospitality sector will re-open on or within a few days of 4th July, with around three-quarters of pubs and accommodation businesses open again by the end of the month.
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