Merseyside Police has been working alongside local authorities, the NHS, businesses, sports clubs, and the public to ensure the people of Merseyside can stay safe as restaurants and sports venues re-open to the public.
Many shops and licensed premises have been able to reopen since Wednesday 2 December, provided that they meet government criteria for keeping staff and customers as safe as possible.
Restaurants serving substantial meals can open until 11pm, with last orders for food and drink at 10pm, and many businesses in Liverpool city centre are reporting they are already booked up this weekend.
Up to 2,000 people can now also attend sports events, with Liverpool and Tranmere welcoming football fans and Aintree Racecourse hosting racegoers this weekend.
The Rule of Six is now back in place, meaning people from different households can meet in groups of six outdoors.
As with any weekend, we have an extensive policing plan in place to support businesses, provide advice and keep the public safe.
Chief Superintendent Matt Boyle said, “We have all been through a challenging year, and the people of Merseyside have shown a great deal of patience and commitment in our efforts to help defeat this virus.
“While we have had promising news recently with the re-opening of non-essential businesses and hospitality, and the success of vaccine trials, restrictions remain in place and this virus has not gone away.
“We are in Tier 2 thanks to the hard work of all those people who adhered to restrictions and who took part in the mass testing in Liverpool.
“If we want to continue on the path out of this pandemic, and protect the NHS this winter, we need to continue acting sensibly. Keep social distancing, keep wearing face coverings where needed and keep washing hands.
“If you have been lucky enough to get a ticket to a sporting event, we ask that you heed the rules and advice provided, and ask that only those with tickets travel to those football grounds and other venues that are opening up. Transport to the venues is limited in many cases, and supporters attending Anfield are encouraged to travel safely by car where possible.
“A range of measures have been undertaken to ensure fans can attended sporting fixtures safely, and if we are to see more people being able to attend in future it is crucial that everyone plays their part.”
Chief Supt Boyle added, “Please plan your evening out and ensure you’re allowed into where you want to go 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.
“Our officers will be out on patrol in busy areas to encourage, explain and educate people, and we’ll keep a close eye on all of our key locations, through patrols, CCTV monitoring. If you do come out, enjoy yourselves, stay safe and be kind to each other.
He added that the public can report any concerns via 999 in an emergency, or through passing information via @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111″
Main image credit: Helena Lopes