'Let it not be in vain': Police chief urges caution as pubs reopen in Sheffield on Saturday

South Yorkshire’s chief constable is urging people to do all they can to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus when pubs reopen as lockdown measures are eased this weekend.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 2:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 2:55 pm

In a message to South Yorkshire residents, he said: “We know the last few months have been a struggle but let it not be in vain.”

Pubs and restaurants are allowed to start trading again on Saturday, July 4 after being forced to close in March in a bid to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.

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Chief Constable Stephen Watson

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Extra police officers have been drafted in to cope with an expected increase in demand, and South Yorkshire Police said hospitals are expecting to be as busy as New Year’s Eve – traditionally one of the busiest days of the year.

He also warned that the lines of social distancing could ‘become blurred’.

Chf Con Watson said: “I am acutely aware that so much has been asked of the public of late. Many of us have made sacrifices, felt loss and loneliness and experienced anxiety and frustration but we have adhered to social distancing to help reduce the outbreak.

“Now, we reach a new milestone where families and friends begin to come back together again in social settings. This is a time many of us have longed for as we have renewed appreciation for time with those we care about and we are keen to hold on to this privilege.

“We anticipate an increase on demand on 101 and 999 this weekend, the hospitals are expecting demand similar to that of New Year's Eve and all the while the virus continues in the background.

“I have said throughout this outbreak that your officers remain here for you and this remains true. This weekend they will be out in greater number to provide reassurance and to keep you safe from harm. However, the greatest safety measure in tackling a virus remains to stay at home.

“We know the last few months have been a struggle but let it not be in vain. There is a way out of this but a little more patience may be required.”