Public urged to act responsibly
People in Norfolk are being urged to enjoy themselves responsibly and follow social distancing guidelines as pubs, bars and restaurants reopen this weekend.
Saturday (4 July) will see many businesses and venues reopen having been closed for more than three months as a result of lockdown measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Members of the public are expected to take advantage of the chance to meet with friends and family at venues, which will be operating differently in order comply with government regulations. Many places, including pubs and bars, will be operating restaurant-like booking systems so people should check with venues before attending.
Local authorities have worked closely with other agencies, including the police, to make sure venues are aware of their licensing objectives and COVID guidelines to prevent a second spike of the virus. Pub goers should follow the guidance of staff and maintain social distancing.
Louise Smith, Director of Public Health, said: "I’m sure lots of people will be looking forward to meeting up with their friends and family this weekend and visiting pubs and restaurants again. I want people to be able to enjoy themselves but we all need to remember that the virus is still with us. It’s easy for people to get carried away, particularly when they are out having fun, but we need to keep doing the things that can help prevent the spread of the infection, such as washing our hands and keeping our distance. If you have any symptoms please stay at home and get tested. It’s important that we keep protecting ourselves, protecting others and protecting Norfolk.”
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison said: "The last few months have been challenging for our communities and I completely understand people wanting to take full advantage of pubs and bars reopening. However, life is by no means back to normal and venues will be operating in ways we are not used to. Pub goers should observe and follow guidelines set out by venues, which are in place to protect you and staff. We want people to enjoy these greater freedoms but remember to drink sensibly and plan your journey home. We know from experience that excessive drinking can lead to people becoming more vulnerable to harm, or cause harm to others. We have appropriate resources in place to deal with any issues which may arise and additional officers will be on patrol across the county.”
"This pandemic is far from over"
Dr Anoop Dhesi, Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a local GP, said: "While it may seem that we have turned a corner, this pandemic is far from over. We must continue to limit the spread of infection and do all that we can to prevent a second wave. Many people are understandably looking forward to a trip to the pub this weekend. However, I urge you not to forget the personal responsibility we all have to keep ourselves and others safe. It is vital that our ability to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene is not impaired by excessive alcohol consumption.”
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Lorne Green, said: "It’s understandable that Norfolk residents will be eager to support local businesses, raise a glass and enjoy the hospitality on offer when pubs and bars reopen. But we also have to remember the continued health and safety of our communities rely on this being done responsibly. I am proud of the way Norfolk has responded to the pandemic thus far – let’s not let ourselves down now. If you’re venturing out, follow the rules set by venues you might be visiting, travel safely and please continue to respect all of our emergency services who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe during the pandemic.”
In response to pubs and bars reopening, Norfolk Constabulary’s Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) will be increasing patrols in marked and unmarked cars in both urban and rural areas with a particular focus on drink driving. Drink driving is one of the ‘fatal four’ offences alongside speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone, which increases the chances of you being killed or seriously injured in a collision.