'We're ready for a proper night out!' Northamptonshire Police vow to keep people safe but not spoil the fun
Pubs are ready to fully re-open for first time in 15 long months
Police say they expect people to be ready for a "proper night out" after more Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed from Monday (May 17).
Northamptonshire's night-time economy will swing back into action with boozers and pubs able to fully re-open for the first time in 15 months as Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown reaches its next stage.
Superintendent Adam Ward admitted: “After so many months with pubs and venues having to stay closed, we know there will be a lot of people looking forward to a proper night out.
"We’re looking forward to seeing them out having fun. But, to help keep everyone safe, we’ll be reminding people of the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.
"We’re also making it clear to anyone who might seek to cause trouble on a night out that our officers will be ready and waiting to stop them.”
Northamptonshire's night-time economy shut down ahead of the first national lockdown in March last year. Most were able to open during the second half of 2020 but with curfews and restrictions on serving drinks only with meals.
Doors were locked again in December until the rules were partially lifted last month, allowing pubs and restaurants to operate outdoors.
Supt Ward added that the response from both venues and the public has been positive since beer gardens were opened on April 12.
He said: “Venues have been working hard to stick to Covid-19 rules and people have been generally well-behaved, with most enjoying themselves responsibly and safely.
“We’re hopeful this is an indicator of things to come, but are reminding people that there will still be rules in place that everyone has to stick to.
"Where we get reports of Covid-19 breaches, either by businesses or customers, we will continue to take action.”
Work around ensuring a safe return of the night-time economy has been under way for months, reaching out to licensees across the county asking them to share plans for re-opening and any events they hope to hold.
The force is also working with partner agencies to make sure venues are aware of and complying with Covid-19 regulations — especially the Rule of Six indoors — until all restrictions are lifted, currently set for June 21.
And plain-clothed officers will be circulating into pubs and public spaces during peak times to help people who may become vulnerable, and to keep an eye out for anyone displaying predatory behaviour who may be looking to cause harm.
Supt Ward added: “To anyone who may be thinking they will use the reopening of the NTE as an opportunity to commit any kind of crime – we will be ready and waiting to stop you.
“A bad hangover might last a day, but a criminal record may last your whole life, so please remember to behave responsibly when you’re out enjoying yourself.”
■ Report non-emergency crime and Covid-19 breaches by calling 101 or visit www.northants.police.uk/ro — in an emergency always call 999.
■ Find advice on staying safe HERE