Pub and bar goers looking forward to returning to venues across St Helens Borough this weekend must ‘play their part’ in keeping everyone safe.
That is the message as partners across St Helens Borough come together to remind the public that reopening businesses relies heavily on a mutual agreement between visitors and them to act appropriately.
St Helens Borough Council, Merseyside Police, GPs and nurses along with bar and pub owners are pointing to a social contract between them and the public that everyone has a role to make sure a trip to a pub or bar is a safe and enjoyable one for all.
There are four simple steps that everyone should take which are matched to an action being taken by organisations which are:
|What we are doing||What you can do|
|Giving businesses support to be ready to trade safely through risk assessment and guidance.||Following the rules in venues: sitting down, keeping in small groups, no shouting etc.|
|Providing extra staffing to make sure your experience is a safe one.||Following any orders given by police/security such as leaving an area if somewhere becomes too crowded.|
|Providing health support for those who need it – remember we are still dealing with a pandemic.||Please drink sensibly, just because you can drink in a venue don’t drink to excess as your perceptions of social distancing will be affected.|
|Providing support for residents who are affected by Anti-Social Behaviour.||Please behave respectfully, your actions could impact on the businesses you are trying to support.|
Labour Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities at St Helens Borough Council, said: “We have been working with businesses throughout the pandemic helping them to diversify their offer to keep trading as we know the hospitality sector has been hugely affected by the closure. It’s important that we continue to support them and where they feel it’s safe to reopen we should all continue to support these businesses, many of which are independent and a vital part of our economy.
“When venues reopen from Saturday your experience will be very different with rules around how many people are allowed to make sure social distancing can be maintained, every visitor having to sit down and the limits around group sizes. It could mean queues to get into venues, with no loud music or live sport allowed to be shown indoors and potentially ordering drinks through apps only.
“We know it will be exciting for many to get back to your favourite pub or bar but please also think about residents living nearby and act responsibly by not drinking to excess. If there are particular problems around the safety of a venue we will not hesitate to take action with our partners if it is needed so all of have to play our part and behave in a way that means we can support businesses while reducing the impact of any anti-social kind of behaviour.”
Speaking ahead of the weekend, Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said: “We are still sadly in the midst of a pandemic, and must do all we can to keep making progress. We simply cannot afford for this weekend to undo everyone’s efforts.
“The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside’s patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we are now seeing in other areas. We’d all be taking a massive backwards step and losing some hard-earned freedoms.
“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 our Local Authorities this weekend. Our officers will be patrolling those busy city and town centres to encourage, explain and educate people, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on all of our key locations, through patrols, CCTV monitoring and measures such as Dispersal Zones, should they be necessary.
“Report any concerns to us via 999 in an emergency, or by passing information via @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, and we’ll take the appropriate action.”
Dr Mike Ejuoneatse, local GP and governing body lead GP for St Helens CCG, said: “As pubs and bars reopen in St Helens and across the rest of the country, please remember if you are planning to go out this weekend to follow the guidance set out around social distancing and how pubs and bars are operating.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves but please drink and behave sensibly – we are still in the middle of a pandemic and we want to make sure our health services are able to provide support for those who really need it.”
Chris Nevin, Owner of The Golden Lion, Rainford, said: “Just over three months ago we closed our doors to visitors and ever since we have been making plans on how we could eventually reopen in a safe way. Things will be different so please help us and everyone else by following the guidance so that everyone can have fun and stay safe at the same time.”
To find out more about the reopening of licensed premises both for businesses and residents visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/coronavirus