Police urge public to stick to the rules and 'drink responsibly' as lockdown eases

11 April 2021, 13:24 | Updated: 11 April 2021, 13:27

The police have urged people to stick to the rules as lockdown eases.
The police have urged people to stick to the rules as lockdown eases. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Police have urged the public to stick to the rules and “drink responsibly” as lockdown eases on Monday allowing pubs and bars to reopen for the first time in 2021.

From Monday, pub gardens, outdoor restaurants, hairdressers, non-essential retail and gyms can reopen, as England takes another step towards normality.

However, police forces across the country have warned people not to “become complacent and risk undermining what we’ve achieved so far”, as they continue to break up large parties.

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Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, of the National Police Chief's Council, said: “These changes will provide people with more options to go out, visit shops, pubs and certain attractions, but there are still rules in place and it is vital people continue to follow them, for their safety and the safety of others.”

He added that police forces have “robust plans” for the coming weeks and there will be a visible police presence as hospitality and retail reopens.

But, despite the ongoing warnings from police, politicians and scientists for the public not to “blow it” as restrictions ease, the Metropolitan Police said they broke up another party in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A total of 34 people are under consideration for a fixed penalty notice after officers were called to a “large house party in Mayfair”.

Met Superintendent Daniel Rutland, said: "As we prepare for more restrictions to be eased in England it is more important than ever that everybody is following the rules and avoiding unnecessary risks.

"We all have a part to play to ensure the Covid infection rate does not rise again and this type of behaviour risks jeopardising the progress that has been made by the majority of people who have followed the rules."

Read more: Pub owners urge Government to guarantee full easing of restrictions by June

Read more: Gyms and household mixing to return earlier in Wales as lockdown easing sped up

There were chaotic scenes as crowds descended on Soho in London following lockdown easings last year.
There were chaotic scenes as crowds descended on Soho in London following lockdown easings last year. Picture: PA
Only outdoor hospitality is permitted to reopen this month.
Only outdoor hospitality is permitted to reopen this month. Picture: PA

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire Police have acknowledged many will be heading to the pub this week, but urged people to “drink responsibly and remember to arrange alternative transport home”.

“Let’s continue to be sensible and watch out for each other,” Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson said.

“The easing of restrictions does not mean that lockdown has lifted completely. It is a journey that we are all on, and to enable later restrictions to be lifted in June we must all do our bit to continue to follow the rules now.”

Read more: What lockdown restrictions are lifting in England on 17th May?

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Seating rules at pubs could even be enforced by officers, according to a statement from Merseyside Police’s chief inspector.

Pete Clark said: "We know that people will want to catch up with loved ones, but please bear in mind that the rule of six still applies, with a maximum of six people in total being able to meet outdoors, or any number of people from only two households.

“Beer gardens and restaurants with outdoor seating will also reopen, and we will be working closely with our partners to ensure seating rules are being followed.”