WEST Midlands Police together with local councils have been getting in touch with hospitality venues to help them reopen safely from today (July 4) – including pubs, bars and restaurants.
Following recent government guidance, they will be able to reopen from this weekend – as long as they adhere to social distancing and safety measures designed to protect staff, customers and the public.
It follows more than three months of closure due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The government has reduced social distancing from two metres to ‘one metre-plus’ where necessary to help the hospitality trade and other businesses.
Scientific and medical opinion is divided, given the heightened risk of a second wave of Covid-19 from the reduction and more people congregating.
Local officers and councils say they have been working with premises to understand how venues intend to operate safely and to understand and assess any plans to extend or request for outdoor seating areas.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, police commander said: “Businesses have suffered financially as a result of the lockdown measures and it’s great to see them being able to reopen.
“However we need people to take personal responsibility for their actions and behaviour – observe the social distancing measures that will be in place and follow instructions laid out by venues so they are able to operate effectively and stay open.
“Throughout the pandemic we have continued to patrol our towns and city centres and obviously this weekend will continue to put the appropriate resources in place. We will not be ‘policing’ measures in venues, this is the responsibility of licensees but clearly we will be on hand should the need arise.”
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said: “Saturday is set to be a busy day for West Midlands Police.
“Preparations are underway and we are working closely with pubs, to mitigate the threat of disorder. I would urge people to act sensibly on Saturday.”